But when it comes to snacking, we often grab the first thing we see—even if that means leftover sheet cake or chips and dip from the breakroom. Instead, think of healthy snacks as a bridge between meals, says Sports Dietician Amy Goodson. You want to eat enough so that you don’t over-indulge come mealtime, but not too much that you’re stuffed. And when choosing your nutrient-rich, go-to snacks, Goodson advises a whole grain or fruit paired with a protein.
Since cooking is not one of my strong points, having a master list of tasty, healthy snacks was an essential part of my weight loss journey. It’s been seven years since I lost 75 pounds, and I still find myself reaching for these favorite snacks when hunger strikes.
Peppers and Guacamole1 of 11
Slice up red, green and yellow peppers and pair them with about three ounces of guacamole. Bell peppers are full of antioxidants and provide a great source of vitamins A and C. And guacamole is not only delicious, but it's also a good source of energy and fat, which can help prevent hunger between meals.
Dark Chocolate and Almonds2 of 11
The secret to my weight loss and long-term maintenance is simple: No food is off limits. When I crave chocolate—which happens daily—I reach for a small serving of dark chocolate and a handful of raw almonds. The cocoa satisfies my need for something sweet, and the fat content in both the chocolate and almonds helps squash hunger pangs.
Nuts and Nectarines3 of 11
Nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts contain a satisfying blend of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber. Pick your favorite combo and pair them with a medium-sized nectarine for a nutrient-packed, sweet-and-salty snack.
Banana and Peanut/Almond Butter4 of 11
My number one go-to snack is a banana dipped in peanut or almond butter. The carbohydrates from the banana give me much-needed energy for my long runs, and the fat in the nut butter keeps me satisfied until my workout is over.
Hummus with Raw Veggies and Whole-grain Pita Chips5 of 11
Oh, how I love hummus…and that's why I portion it out before I dig in! I tend to be the hungriest right before dinner, so chopped veggies (carrots, peppers, pea pods) and hummus are always front and center in my refrigerator.
Greek Yogurt with Berries6 of 11
When I'm craving ice cream—but know I need something more nutritious—I opt for a bowl of creamy vanilla Greek yogurt topped with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.
A cup of plain Greek yogurt has around 12 to 17 grams of protein depending on the brand, a whopping amount of calcium and a decent dose of probiotics for a healthy and happy tummy.
Apple Slices and Laughing Cow Light Cheese7 of 11
Sliced honeycrisp apples smothered in light Laughing Cow cheese (35 calories per serving) is my go-to when I need a quick pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon. Apples contain soluble fiber, which will keep you feeling full for longer and decrease overall cholesterol.
Turkey Cheese Rollups8 of 11
Sliced turkey makes the perfect low-calorie, high-protein substitute for a tortilla. Roll up three to five slices of turkey (amount depends on the thickness of meat) with one to two slices of low-fat cheese. You can add sliced bell peppers or mustard for a little extra kick.
Note: Make sure to check the label on the meat you buy and opt for a more natural or organic product that doesn't contain sodium nitrate.
Hardboiled Eggs and Sliced Strawberries9 of 11
Protein meets antioxidants in this powerful snack duo. Boil enough eggs to last a few days and store in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go. Add a cup of fiber-filled, antioxidant-rich, sliced strawberries to this meal, and you have a perfect morning or bedtime snack.
Homemade Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Protein Bars10 of 11
This snack only requires four ingredients, but it sure packs some punch. Combine one cup of oats, 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup honey. Mix using your hands and press dough into a glass casserole dish. Let it sit in the fridge overnight and slice into bars the next day. One medium-sized bar paired with your favorite fruit gives you a great pre- or post-workout snack full of carbohydrates, protein and fat.