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15 healthy snack ideas to keep you satisfied and energised

Range of healthy snacks that will keep you satisfied between meals including fruit, vegtables, dips and nuts

You might feel confident about your food choices for your three main meals, but what about the gaps in between? One question that comes up again and again in our nutrition clinic is ‘What should I snack on if I get hungry’?

 

This is an area that often causes confusion and if not properly managed can derail your good efforts with poor choices and unnecessary snacking. So much so that I thought it worth pulling my thoughts together in this blog post.

 

The advice to eat little and often – to graze – is a thing of the past. Nutritional science now recognises (mainly through studies looking at what happens when you don’t eat) that, for most people, the ideal ‘diet’ scenario is that they consume three meals a day with no snacks in between. This means your body gets a rest from eating from time to time, which it really does need in order to reset.

 

3 meals consisting of brekfast which is banana, egg, bowl of porridge and pear, lunch which is chicken salad with rice, cucumber, tomato and dinner which is baked salmon with green beans, peppers, sweetcorn and carrots
The ideal ‘diet’ is eating 3 meals a day with no snacks

That might seem like a million miles away from where you feel you are right now, and that’s not unusual. The idea of only eating three meals a day will be very daunting if you’re prone to constant snacking and grazing. But when you begin to nourish your body with real food, which means always including a source of protein and plenty of veg, and at the same time scaling back on refined foods and sugar; you’ll notice your cravings and energy levels will begin to stabilise, leaving you feeling more satisfied throughout the day, without the need for frequent snacks.

 

During the transition, as your body adjusts and your energy levels rebalance, having a small snack to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel is a good idea. There are of course other good reasons to enjoy snacks during the day, and we will also take a look at those.

 

As a nutritional therapist and health coach, I want to make sure any snacks you do have are the best for your health, so read on for my top twelve snack ideas that you can easily assemble yourself PLUS three tasty snack recipes for you to try.


You will be tempted by the lure of shop bought, ready made snacks. However I do recommend you spend some time making your own when and where you can. While the shop-bought options may appear to be healthy (I’m looking at you Nature Valley bars), they are generally filled with sugar and additives, so taking a little extra time to prepare your snacks ensures you're eating whole foods that support your health.

 

4 common reasons why you snack


6 doughnuts varying flavours in a box with hands reaching in to take one
Office treats can become a habit that's hard to break

1. Emotional and social triggers

Often, people eat for reasons other than actual hunger. That might be from boredom, stress, anxiety, out of sheer habit or because someone brought some sharables into the office that you couldn’t resist.  Some of these reasons can take a while to unpick.  

 

Snack Fix: Start by acknowledging that you're eating for reasons other than hunger. If you tend to stress eat or comfort eat, recognising this behaviour is the first step. Working with a nutritional therapist like ourselves can help you develop healthier coping strategies and find ways to address these triggers without turning to food. This awareness and support can make a big difference in your journey to healthier snacking habits.

 

2. Not enough protein

Another reason you might end up at snack central is that you haven’t had a decent, protein-based breakfast that keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Toast or cereal for breakfast is a sure-fire way to a mid-morning energy dip that will leave you wanting to refuel before lunch.

 

Snack fix: pick a protein based breakfast like overnight oats (click for recipe) with yogurt, berries and seeds or some kind of egg-based option. Even a protein shake works if you’re in a hurry.

 

3. Tiredness

Ever had a dreadful night’s sleep then been forced to prop yourself up with coffee and snacks throughout the day?  I know I certainly have!  Tiredness absolutely affects your hunger levels as well as draining your capacity to make healthy choices,


Snack fix: if you recognise yourself here, it’s time to make sleep a priority or to investigate why your energy levels are low.  See blog post about the importance of a good night’s sleep for optimal health.


4. Hunger

Leaving very long gaps between meals can leave you feeling hungry and for a good reason. Lunch at 1pm, then not eating your evening meal till 7 or 8pm is a long gap. In this case, it makes sense to squeeze in a little something part-way through.

 

Snack fix: if you know you’ll have a very long gap between two meals, plan ahead, so you can have a healthy snack to hand. Planning ahead means you’re more likely to make healthful choices.

 

Snack Size

By definition, snacks are small. They are not intended to be the size of an actual meal, so take note of the portion sizes included here.

 

TIP: if you’re eating from a larger packet of nuts or dark chocolate, take out only a snack-sized portion, transfer it to a container, and put the rest of the bag or bar back in the cupboard or fridge for another time.

 

15 Ideas for Healthy Snacks


Mixed Nuts

Nuts are an ideal snack and perfect for taking on the go. They’re high in healthy fats and naturally filling. Throw in a few seeds if you like, too.

 

Snack size: a small handful.

 

Fruit

Choose a fruit like an apple, pear or 2 plums or mandarins and have with a few nuts or seeds. Simple enough to take to work or eat on the go, if needed.


Snack size: fruit (approx. 80g), plus 5 to 10 nuts or a dessertspoon of seeds.

 

Filled Lettuce Boats

Use a little gem lettuce as the boat and fill with mashed avocado or cottage cheese and cucumber or go with a couple of butterhead lettuce leaves and make a ‘sandwich’ with a slice of gouda, edam or emmental cheese.

 

Oatcakes with topping

A couple of oatcakes topped with nut butter, hummus, guacamole, taramasalata, cream cheese and cucumber, smoked mackerel pâté or cheese is a tasty option.

 

Snack size: 2 oatcakes spread with your choice of topping.

 

Yogurt

Quark, plain yogurt or cottage cheese mixed with berries (any will do – like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries) makes a lovely sweet treat if your energy is flagging.

 

Snack size: a generous handful of berries plus 150g plain yoghurt, cottage cheese or quark.

 

Hummus with crudites

This lovely chickpea dip with your choice of chopped cucumber, red pepper or celery is a snacking favourite.

 

Snack size: as many veggie sticks as you fancy + a couple of tablespoons of hummus.

 

Feta, olives and tomato

You can’t beat feta for that wonderful salty hit. Team with olives and cherry tomatoes, and it feels like the deli counter has come home. You might find feta already cubed and in brine at your local supermarket.

 

Snack size: 6 cubes of feta, 6 olives + a small handful of cherry tomatoes.

 

Avocado

The healthy fats in avocado help stave off cravings. Sprinkled with an oil and vinegar dressing plus some toasted pine nuts (or a seed mix), it feels like a delicious treat.

 

Snack size: ½ an avocado + a small handful of pine nuts or seeds.

 

Soup

A mug of soup, either veg-based or protein-based is great for a chilly day and really fills you up. Choose a soup without potatoes, rice or noodles. One with veggies, beans, lentils or meat will give you the protein to keep cravings at bay.

 

Snack size: 1 small bowl or mug.

 

Small bowl of mixed nuts, dark chocolate and dried fruit for a healthy snack
Craving a sweet treat? Opt for dark chocolate and nuts

Dark chocolate and nuts

Sometimes you’ll fancy a sweet treat, and that’s a fact. Your best option is nuts covered in dark chocolate, which has less sugar than milk chocolate.

 

Snack size: 30g chocolate-covered nuts.

 

A hard-boiled egg

Simple and filling.

 

Parma ham and melon

Wrap a slice of parma ham around a wedge of melon.  Parma ham is cured with salt only and has much less preservatives than other hams.


My final three healthy snack suggestions take a little preparation but are so worth it for flavour and nutrition.

 

Guacamole

Homemade guacamole is packed with heart-healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a perfect dip to satisfy your cravings without compromising your health. You’ll find lots of recipes online for guacamole, but this one with chili is my favourite, the family love it also. Click here for recipe.

 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

These little bites have a delicious crispy kick. They are full of flavor and packed with protein and fibre. See the recipe here.

 

Medjool dates with chocolate and peanut butter

Think snickers bar but healthy. I love these dates with natural sweetness from the dates, creamy peanut butter and the indulging dark chocolate. It’s a delicious combo of flavours that just works and really fills the gap when you’re craving something sweet. My clients also love these. Recipe available here.

 

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

The key to success when it comes to healthy snacking really is all about getting organised and planning ahead.

 

If you follow us on online you’ll know we’re huge fans of batching and preparing a plan for the week ahead. It’s the same concept for having ready-made snacks each day. Having something tasty and nutritious such as yoghurt and berries at the ready significantly reduces the risk of reaching for the biscuits and leaving your blood sugars out of balance. Plus it saves so much time and energy (and money) during busy weekdays.

 

So we’ve presented you with 15 delicious snack ideas that will help keep you on track with your healthy eating goals. Try them out, choose your favourite sweet and savoury options so that you don’t get bored with the same food. I promise you will start to feel the difference as you continue to fuel your day with healthy and nutritious snacks.

 

Let us know if you have any other healthy snack suggestions. We’re always looking for inspiration. Drop us a message via Facebook or Instagram and we’ll be sure to share with our online community.

 

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