Since as early as 2015, there has been a rising shopping trend, especially in young people, of buying healthier options. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply be a little better with your eating habits, our greatest downfall is most likely the snack. Need something to keep you going until dinner time? No one really appreciates a pile or carrot sticks or a rice cake, but it does the job and tastes good, so why not? Besides, avocados can be pretty expensive if you thought about going down the Instagram route.
No fear, healthier snacking options needn’t leave you uninspired and nor should it eat into your bank account either. We’ve got some healthy and cheap snack ideas that will satisfy your tongue and your budget while helping you get in shape for summer!
Healthy & Cheap Snack Options
Nuts vs Chips:
You may think it’s all about the taste, but the crunch food makes when you bite down is just as key a reason for why we’re constantly reaching for a packet of chips. It’s not unknown how bad they are for us though, said to contain ingredients that lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and coronary disease. But you can also get that satisfying crunch from nuts. And reap the benefits of their abilities to lower your cholesterol, too.
It’s best to pick up unsalted or raw nuts to avoid a higher number of calories, however, you will find yourself full consuming less due to being high in fat and protein. Nuts are also packed full of that good stuff like vitamin E, folate and other vitamins and minerals. Snack on walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews when you are hungry and want to reach for a bag of chips. It’s good to know you can often even save 50% with Buy One Get One Free offers or coupons. Alternatively, you can pay up to $5 for a bag of potato chips with not even a quarter of the health benefits, plus you have to eat the entire bag to feel full!
Fruit vs Veg:
Between messages about added sugars vs natural sugars and getting your five a day, it can be confusing to think that even fruit and veg could be bad for you. But really, it’s all about moderation and getting your balance of both whilst recognizing what you need to meet any goals you might have. Fruit can have high levels of carbohydrates and calories that could be the thing standing in the way of your weight loss, however, it’s also full of antioxidants and that good fiber that can help with digestion and fight against developing cancer and other sinister illnesses. You should also ensure, then, that you’re also having a couple of portions of veg a day, too. Not only for the nutrients but because many are classed as ‘free foods’ that allow you to eat as much as you want without packing on the pounds.
On a practical basis, however, fruit especially can be quite expensive bought fresh and goes off at a rapid rate. It’s important to buy only as much as you know you’ll be able to consume before it goes bad, rather than getting excited and picking up every type of berry imaginable. It may sound odd but buying frozen fruit packs just as much of a punch as fresh fruit and isn’t significantly more expensive. Frozen as soon as they’ve ripened and been picked, freezing the fruit means it keeps a hold of all that good stuff and also means they haven’t had to be treated to keep them fresh for longer like ‘fresh’ fruit. The same can be said for buying frozen veg. The only inconvenience is allowing it to defrost so you can get snacking. Fancy chomping down on some carrot sticks? At least frozen it’s prepared, taking out the effort of having to peel and chop up.
Protein vs Sweet Snacks:
Sometimes you just want something that’s going to hit that sweet tooth (read: always). Biscuits, chocolate bars, and cake should definitely be written down somewhere official as a sure-fire way to solve all life’s problems. However, it comes with a heavy unhealthy ticket. Packed full of sugar and all those fats you don’t want to stick around on your belly and hips, sweet snacks are every dieting human’s downfall. That said, if you are trying to get fit and lose weight, there are plenty of sweet options that won’t leave you feeling guilty or sluggish.
Many fitness and nutrition brands like GoNutrition and Orgain Protein Powders provide protein that is easy to add to anything you like, including smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt and more. Protein powders are a great way to have a quick “snack” without eating empty calories and there are many delicious smoothie recipes out there you can easily add protein powder to in order to get a filling snack. You can add a cup of oatmeal to your smoothies for another 26 grams of protein too.
Protein helps to build muscle and give you energy, plus products like Orgain are low in carbs and fats and don’t contain added sugar either. The only downside is the initial investment! Big containers of protein powder can put you back, so make sure you look for Promo Codes For these type of products in order to get a hefty discount. The same goes for doing your food shop online from stores like Vitacost, where you can buy low sugar or low-fat snack bars from the likes of nakd and Eat Natural, or grab protein balls from Deliciously Ella.
Another great snack you can make that won’t break your budget or add inches to your waistline is chia pudding! You can make chia pudding with or without protein powder and it will still make a delicious, filling snack that tastes delicious but is totally good for you!
Here is my favorite chia pudding recipe…
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or unsweetened coconut milk)
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ½ tsp real vanilla extract
- ¼ cup real maple syrup (or 3 drops of stevia)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of Real Salt
- Blend all ingredients except chia seeds in a blender until smooth, including any added flavors, fruits, or chocolate.
- Whisk in chia seeds.
- Pour mixture into a mason jar or other glass container and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight to let it set.
- Be sure to shake the jar a few times within the first hour to help it gel up evenly because the chia seeds tend to settle.
- You can add fresh or frozen fruit to the pudding before or after the pudding sets. We recommend diced peaches!
The best thing to consider when deciding on what you want to snack on is to have a variety, meaning your taste buds will never get bored. There are so many varieties of fruits, veggies and nuts that there are endless snacking possibilities.
Before you head to the grocery store or logon to Amazon to buy healthier snacks, consider what you want to get out of snacking more healthily. If it is simply to have a more balanced, nutritious diet then ensure you enjoy a bit of everything. For things like weight loss or improving high blood sugar or cholesterol levels, look a little closer into what fruit and veg, nuts, or protein snack options can do for you.