Commitment + Clinical Leadership = Better Outcomes
13 Healthy Snack Ideas To Enjoy When You’re Hungry
Hungry between meals? It’s snack time!
While research on snacking during the day is mixed, snacking has been scientifically proven to help the body manage its blood sugar levels.1
Furthermore, snacking can help you curb your appetite by preventing you from overeating during lunch or dinner.
Here are 13 healthy snack ideas that meet some of your daily recommended nutritional needs!
Greek yogurt is different than regular yogurt because it goes through a different straining process that removes the whey. This results in it having less sugar than normal yogurt.
Greek yogurt is rich in potassium and calcium, which can help keep your bones strong and prevent conditions such as osteoporosis (a condition when the bones become weak and brittle). Greek yogurt also contains probiotics, which are “good” bacteria found in your gut and intestines, that can improve your body’s digestive health.2
There are many different brands of Greek yogurt, and some of them may contain fruits that can have additional health benefits. If you have plain Greek yogurt, you can add berries such as blueberries or raspberries to expand upon the health benefits of this snack.
Mixed nuts are a great snack, with Healthline Media estimating that one ounce of mixed nuts contains 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 12% of the daily recommended Vitamin E, and 16% of the daily recommended magnesium.3
While nuts can easily be incorporated into a low carb diet, it’s important to keep in mind that they are high in fat and calories, making them a snack that should be eaten in moderation.
Some nuts that you should consider adding to your healthy snack mix include:
- Almonds. Almonds have been proven to lower your LDL cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol that can clog your arteries and lead to high blood pressure. A one ounce serving of almonds contains just as much calcium as ¼ cup of milk, which can help keep your bones strong and healthy.4
- Pecans. Research has shown that pecans can help lower cholesterol levels and provide your body with heart healthy unsaturated fats. There are also over 19 vitamins and minerals found in pecans, including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, and potassium.5
- Pistachios. Pistachios have 6 grams of protein per ounce. They also contain vitamin B6 which helps the body carry oxygen throughout the body.6
- Cashews. Cashews are great for those with diabetes because research has linked their bioactive components as having a positive effect on glucose and insulin responses. Cashews can boost brain health with the minerals zinc, iron, and copper; deficiencies in these minerals are linked to anxiety and depression.7
Granola bars are made of different oats, nuts, dried fruits, and honey. Granola bars are often eaten as a pre-workout snack because they give your body energy without the extra sugars.
One benefit of granola bars is they can prevent anemia, which is an iron deficiency in the cells. Granola bars have been proven to help the body counteract symptoms of anemia and the fatigue that comes with it.8
There are many different brands and types of granola bars, so make sure to avoid ones that add ingredients such as sugars, chocolates, and preservatives that can negate the health benefits of a granola bar. There are also granola bars that mix and match different nuts that can yield numerous health benefits.
Fruits are a good snack idea whenever you’re hungry and looking for healthy foods to eat. Fruits contain natural sugars that make them taste sweet while also providing your body with much-needed vitamins and minerals.
Some fruits that make great snacks include:
- Strawberries. Strawberries have a low number of carbohydrates (8 grams of carbs per 1.5 ounces) due to the fact that they’re high in water content. This makes strawberries a good option if you need to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Research also links strawberries to keeping your memory strong because they contain fistein, a flavonoid that strengthens your brain’s neural connections and improves long-term memory.9
- Bananas. A medium-sized banana contains 10% of your body’s daily recommended vitamin C intake. Vitamin C affects the production of collagen, which keeps your bones, skin, and teeth healthy. Bananas have been scientifically proven to aid in digestion because they contain pectin (a fiber) and starch (which can improve digestion).10
- Apples. Apples have been proven to lower blood sugar and reduce your risk of diabetes because they are rich in fiber, which helps the body slow its absorption of carbohydrates. Apples also contain boron, a trace mineral that affects the bones and aids in joint movement.11
- Oranges. Oranges have been linked to improving your body’s blood pressure by boosting potassium (which can relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow) intake by 14%. Oranges can also contain as much as 92% of your body’s recommended vitamin C levels depending on the variety.12
- Watermelons. Watermelons contain more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable, which is linked to controlling blood pressure as well as lowering cholesterol. Watermelons also contain vitamin A, which can help the body repair its skin cells.13
- Blueberries. A study published by The American Journal of Nutrition found that eating a cup of blueberries each day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 15%. Blueberries contain microflora which can keep the immune system healthy, and anthocyans, which affect your body’s gut health.14
Smoothies are an excellent way to incorporate more fruits into your diet while enjoying a refreshing drink. Smoothies can be a great treat on a hot summer afternoon or when you’re craving a reward that tastes sweet.
There are many different kinds of smoothies and smoothie recipes, but homemade smoothies are the best way to avoid added sugars and preservatives that are harmful to your body.
You can mix different fruits together and try new combinations to find your next favorite smoothie recipe for snack time!
Apple Slices/Celery/Carrots and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a popular spread that is relatively unprocessed because it is roasted peanuts that are grounded. Peanut butter contains 22.5 grams of protein and 22 carbohydrates, 5 of which are fiber.15
Incorporating moderate amounts of peanut butter into your snacks can help you improve the amount of protein you eat each day. Use a healthy fruit or vegetable, such as apple slices, celery, or carrots for extra nutritional benefits. Be mindful that some peanut butters contain added sugars.
The words “healthy” and “chocolate” usually do not go together, but dark chocolate has been proven to have multiple health benefits when eaten in moderation. Dark chocolate contains 11 grams of fiber as well as copper, magnesium, and iron, all of which are important for your body’s health.16
Dark chocolate has a positive effect on heart health because it can fight inflammation and damage from free radicals (which are unstable atoms that can damage your body’s cells).
Dark chocolate is different from normal chocolate because it has flavanols that protect the heart by supporting the production of nitric oxide. This relaxes the blood vessels and improves your body’s blood flow circulation. Studies have found that 1 ounce of dark chocolate a day can benefit your heart.17
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are quick and easy to prepare, and all you need is boiling water and an egg to make them. Hard boiled eggs can be enjoyed as a quick snack when you need a food that fills you up because they contain high levels of protein.
One hardboiled egg provides 6 grams of protein, which makes hard boiled eggs a good snack before working out or performing physical activity. Hard boiled eggs can repair muscle tissue and help the muscles recover after exercising. It is estimated that you need 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) every day if you’re looking to build muscle.18
Cottage cheese is filled with protein, which accounts for 70% of the calories in it. Cottage cheese also contains 24% of the recommended daily intake of phosphorous, an essential mineral that builds our bones, RNA, and DNA. Both the phosphorus and protein found in cottage cheese can improve your bone health.19
Cottage cheese can be paired alongside a salad, fruits, pancakes, toast, or granola. This makes cottage cheese a versatile ingredient that can easily be incorporated into different recipes and healthy snack ideas.
Kale chips are a great way to enjoy a savory snack without the calories or grease found in potato chips. They can be eaten alone or mixed into a salad for added health benefits.
Kale chips contain over 45 antioxidant flavonoids, which can prevent damage to your body’s cells. They also have antioxidants that have been proven to lower your risk of cataracts, atherosclerosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.20
Popcorn is usually thought of as being buttery and sugary because it is a staple treat at the movie theater.
However, plain popcorn has some surprising health benefits such as lowering the risk of diabetes because it can help maintain your blood sugar levels. Popcorn also contains fiber, which has been linked to decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.21
It’s important to avoid overdoing the salt, grated cheese, and other toppings you place onto your popcorn because these additions will negate some of the health benefits popcorn has to offer. You can enjoy popcorn as a light snack when you’re watching television or a movie.
Hummus is a spread that can be placed on top of vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, and zucchini. Consuming hummus in moderation can make it a great snack option because hummus is low in fat.
A health benefit of hummus is it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which helps with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Hummus also contains over 20 amino acids, including tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine which helps your body produce serotonin and boosts mood.22
While oatmeal is typically eaten as a breakfast food, it can make a good snack when you’re hungry and need something that satiates your stomach. Oatmeal can be eaten hot or cold, and there are many brands of oatmeal that are packaged in ways that are easy to take with you.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains on the planet, and they contain more protein and fat than most grains. They also contain large amounts of beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber that can aid your body in its digestion because it creates a gel. Beta-glucan can help lower your body’s cholesterol levels and reduce your blood sugar levels.23
Enjoy a Healthy Snack Today!
We encourage you and your loved ones to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Enjoy a healthy snack between your meals today!
Here at Saber Healthcare, our dietary departments work to provide meals to our residents that meet all of their nutritional needs. To learn more about our company and the services we provide, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Yildiran, Hİlal, and Seyit Mehmet Mercanligil. “Does increasing meal frequency improve weight loss and some biochemical parameters in overweight/obese females?.” “¿El aumento de la frecuencia de las comidas mejora la pérdida de peso y ciertos parámetros bioquímicos en mujeres con exceso de peso/obesidad?.” Nutricion hospitalaria vol. 36,1 (2019): 66-72. doi:10.20960/nh.219. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30836763/
- Burgess, Lana. Olsen, Natalie, ed. “8 Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt.” Healthline Media, MedicalNewsToday. 25 September 2018. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320891
- Spritlzer, Franziska. “8 Health Benefits of Nuts.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 17 January 2019. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-benefits-of-nuts
- Glassman, Keri, ed. “Why are almonds good for me?” WebMD. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/why-are-almonds-good-for-me
- “The Power of the Pecan: 7 Health Benefits That Make This the Best Nut On Earth.” Royalty Pecan Farms. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://royaltypecans.com/pages/the-power-of-the-pecan-7-health-benefits-pecans
- “3 Reasons Why Pistachios Can Boost Your Health.” Cleveland Clinic. 4 February 2020. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-reasons-why-pistachios-can-boost-your-health/
- “6 Amazing Health Benefits of Cashews That May Surprise You.” Navitas Organics. 1 September 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://navitasorganics.com/blogs/navitaslife/all-the-amazing-benefits-of-cashews-you-never-knew-about
- “7 Surprising Benefits Of Granola Bar.” GAIA Good Health. 27 March 2017. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.gaiagoodhealth.com/7-surprising-benefits-granola-bar/
- “Health Benefits of Eating Strawberries.” Saber Healthcare Group. 20 April 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/health-benefits-of-eating-strawberries
- “4 Reasons Why Bananas are Good For You.” Saber Healthcare Group. 28 May 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/why-bananas-are-good-for-you
- “5 Health Benefits of Apples.” Saber Healthcare Group. 21 October 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/5-health-benefits-of-apples
- “5 Health Benefits of Oranges.” Saber Healthcare Group. 22 July 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/health-benefits-of-oranges
- “Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon.” Saber Healthcare Group. 11 July 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/health-benefits-of-watermelon
- “5 Proven Health Benefits of Blueberries.” Saber Healthcare Group. 8 July 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/health-benefits-of-blueberries
- Link, Rachael, and Gunnars, Kris. Marengo, Katherine. “Is Peanut Butter Good or Bad for Your Health?” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 30 June 2021. Accessed 1 February 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-peanut-butter-bad-for-you
- Gunners, Kris. Rose, Kim, ed. “7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Last updated 27 July 2021. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-dark-chocolate
- “10 Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet.” Saber Healthcare Group. 22 August 2021. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/10-heart-healthy-foods-to-add-to-your-diet
- Irvine, Heather Mayer. Renee Janet, ed. “Everything You Need to Know About Hard-Boiled Eggs (and How to Cook Them to Perfection).” Livestrong. Last Updated 9 April 2020. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.livestrong.com/article/250903-hard-boiled-egg-nutrition/
- Semeco, Arlene. “Why Cottage Cheese Is Super Healthy and Nutritious.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 25 October 2019. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cottage-cheese-is-super-healthy
- “6 Reasons You Should Eat Kale Chips Every Day.” Nuts. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://nuts.com/healthy-eating/kale-chip-benefits
- Brennan, Dan. “Health Benefits of Popcorn.” WebMD. 17 September 2020. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/health-benefits-popcorn
- Kumar, Karthik. Allarakha, Shaziya. “Is It Okay to Eat Hummus Every Day?” Medicine.net. 18 November 2011. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.medicinenet.com/is_it_okay_to_eat_hummus_every_day/article.htm
- Palsdottir, Hrefna. “9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. 19 July 2016. Accessed 2 February 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-oats-oatmeal