Sometimes participants of our healthy weight loss program at Green Mountain are surprised by the fact that we have snacks available frequently. Snacking can be a strategy that helps us manage between-meal hunger and makes dealing with main meals a little easier. I always get requests for a list of healthy snack ideas, so I thought I'd share some snack-planning guidelines.
1. If a snack needs to carry you for 2 or more hours, consider making it a snack that contains a source of: carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, and a food that is high in fluid.
2. At Green Mountain at Fox Run we usually include a full serving of a carbohydrate-based food (starch, fruit, milk/yogurt) and about 1 oz of a protein containing food (nuts, seeds, nut butters, egg, cheese, beans/hummus).
3. If you are having a snack that only needs to carry you for a short time frame, such as an hour or less, you may not need to balance it. Ex. having a piece of fruit before an hour-long workout or eating an ounce of cheese while cooking dinner.
Here are some examples of snack combinations we like:
- 1/2 cup hummus or bean dip and a handful of cut vegetables, baked pita chips, or whole grain crackers
- fruit with an ounce of hard cheese or a handful of nuts/seeds
- 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese with salsa and pumpkin seeds
- banana, pear, or apple slices with nut butter (peanut butter, almond, cashew, etc…)
- fruit & yogurt smoothie (add nut butter or ground flax seed for a fat source if the yogurt is fat free)
- 1 cup of vegetable, bean, and grain/pasta soup
- 1/2 a sandwich: meat & veggie
- small bowl of cereal with toasted almonds
- Ants on a Log: celery sticks or carrot stick with peanut butter or cream cheese and raisins
- homemade "energy bar": whole grain dried cereal mixed with nuts, dried fruit, nut butter and honey or maple syrup – press into pan, refrigerate and cut into bars
- apple with our famous Green Mountain Truffle
- small portions of left-over dinner foods: lasagna, grain salad with protein (cheese, bean, diced meat), green salad with protein & dried fruit, baked potato with cottage cheese, small bean & cheese quesadilla, etc.)
Today the chefs are making "Hummus Tacos" which are a lettuce leaf filled with a southwestern-style hummus, topped with shredded carrots, diced peppers, diced cucumbers, & home-made salsa. They are really delicious, even if they are a little messy to eat!
What interesting snack combinations do you like?