Smart Snacking | Healthy Snack Ideas

Pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and dried figs.
[click for larger image]

Everyone gets hungry in between meals at one time or another. For some, the hunger pangs come shortly after breakfast. For others, it’s in the big gap between lunch and dinner. 2-6 pm is my usual snack time and I can even pinpoint it down to around 4. Although there is always something small to grab to feel satiated before dinner, the challenge is finding something healthy.

I discovered my snack go-tos when I visited a health food store here in Maastricht, called De Tuinen. They offer bags of different types of dried fruit, seeds, and nuts. These foods are not only satisfying – a little goes a long way! – but they are also very healthy and keep the hunger under wraps until dinner.

In the image, you can see the snacks I currently opt for: pumpkin seeds, dried figs, and a medley of dried fruit. I like to place them in old jam jars once I’ve opened the bag. It makes for easier storage and keeps them fresh longer.

What’s healthy about my snacks?

  • Dried figs: While some fruits can lose a portion of their nutrition when dried, figs lose none of their potency. They are high in iron, folic acid and potassium. [Source: Healthiest Dried Fruits ]
  • Pumpkin Seeds: They are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, zinc, iron, manganese, and magnesium, making them an incredibly nutritious snack.
  • Dried dates: They are rich in dietary fiber, contain flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins, and are an excellent source of iron.
  • Dried banana chips: These are the least healthy of the bunch and there is some controversy about how much nutrition they add. Make sure to look for banana chips that haven’t been fried! Their nutrition value plummets if they have not been baked. Apart from this, they are a source of fiber and potassium. You are better off eating these rather than a chocolate bar!

Other healthy snack ideas  (enjoy in moderation!):

Sweet

  • Peanuts, almonds, walnuts
  • Sliced banana with peanut butter
  • Goji berries, blueberries, strawberries (any type of berry!) in your favourite healthy yogurt
  • Dried mango, pineapple, cranberries
  • And regular fruits too of course: bananas, grapes, oranges, the list goes on.

Savoury

  • Sliced tomato with feta and olive oil
  • Edamame
  • Popcorn (without the butter overload)
  • Baby carrots with hummus

What are your daily snack go-tos?

Happy Friday!

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