Unlike many packaged snacks, homemade ones are high in nutrients you want, like fiber and protein. Snacking is an all-American pastime. A whopping 90 percent of Americans report snacking one or more times per day, according to a review published in April 2023 in Nutrients . And in responses […]
Snacking is an all-American pastime. A whopping 90 percent of Americans report snacking one or more times per day, according to a review published in April 2023 in Nutrients. And in responses from the 2020 Food and Health Survey, 26 percent of people said they snacked multiple times per day.
Unfortunately, market research has shown that after fruit, the most commonly consumed snacks are cookies, chips, ice cream, candy, popcorn, soft drinks, crackers and cake. This type of ultra-processed packaged snack food often contains added sugars, refined carbs, unhealthy fats, and excess calories, all at the expense of a healthy diet.
Even packaged foods that have a healthy reputation are often much higher in calories, sugar, and fat than imagined. Take granola bars for example; according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 1.5-ounce granola bar may set you back 180 calories and contain 7 grams (g) of fat, 2.6 g saturated fat, and over 12 g of sugar — not exactly the healthy snack you’d imagine.
So, are snacks good for you or bad for you? The answer may not be so cut and dried. Simply defined, snacks are a small amount of food eaten between the main meals of the day. But the food that makes up that snack can be anything from an apple to a cookie, and the nutritional benefits (or lack thereof) varies accordingly. Snacks are often regarded as unhealthy and a bad choice for anyone hoping to lose weight, however, registered dietitian-nutritionists note that snacks can be an opportunity to add valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your diet while helping to stave off hunger between meals — meaning you’ll likely eat less at your next sitting.
For the healthiest snacks, skip the packaged foods and opt for those that contain fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, recommends the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Snacks’ bad reputation likely stems from not only what people tend to eat as a snack (often highly processed foods with lots of added sugars and unhealthy fats), but also why and how they snack. While snacks can be used as a tool to keep you feeling full until your next meal, often people eat a snack because of habit or environmental cues (think popcorn at the movies). Snacks are even enjoyed simply because they taste good or as a result of boredom.
Making snacks at home from whole foods allows you to choose more nutritious ingredients. A well-planned, balanced snack should contain a source of protein and healthy carbs (especially fiber), to keep you feeling full, according to MedlinePlus. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator during the day, packing healthy snacks for school or work can be more complicated. That’s where delicious and nutritious nonperishable snack recipes can come in handy. Here are 12 healthy snacks you can enjoy anywhere!
Granola is a versatile treat that can be enjoyed as a breakfast, dessert, or snack. While store-bought granola is often packed with added sugar and dried fruit, according to data from the USDA, making it at home allows you to control what goes into the recipe. In this granola, you’ll skip dried fruit and use only a small amount of honey to sweeten the mixture in order to keep added sugars to a minimum. Granola contains heart-healthy seeds and nuts (per the Mayo Clinic), but even though they’re rich in healthy fats, the calories can add up quickly, so a little granola goes a long way.
contains Tree Nuts, Peanuts
CALORIES PER SERVING
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups raw, unsalted nuts (such as pecans, almonds, and/or peanuts)
1 cup unsalted seeds (such as shelled sunflower seeds, pepitas, and/or hemp seeds)
¾ tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup light tasting olive oil
¼ cup honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, place all of the ingredients. Toss until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.
Spread the oat mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until the mixture is nicely browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through and being careful not to overcook. Serve with milk or over a scoop of lowfat yogurt.