Food. My joy and my weakness. There are so many brilliant foods and meals out there that it makes me sad that we can’t all just eat whatever we want all day, every day without suffering any consequences to our health and our bodies. Alas, the world is cruel, and so we can’t just eat everything we want. I guess that most of us eat at least one meal a day, usually between two and three meals a day but I’m sure that between those meals we all get stabs of hunger that are just so hard to ignore. Some delicious smell teases our nostrils, and suddenly we can’t wait for dinner in four hours. Or, we see others eating and all of a sudden, our stomach doesn’t want to be left out and starts rumbling to get our attention. I am sure we have all been there when hunger strikes between meals and we don’t have the willpower to ignore it. The only problem with giving in to those pangs of hunger is that we don’t always reach for the healthiest snack. Sometimes that may not be our fault, as a healthy snack isn’t readily available, but sometimes the unhealthy counterpart just sounds so much more appealing. Well, today I am going to tell you that those pangs of hunger can be silenced and not only by the nearest unhealthy snack you can find. Sometimes I also just need a snack to get me through the morning, but I don’t want that snack to wreak havoc on my healthy lifestyle. So, I have, through a lot of testing and tasting, found ten great hunger-stopping snacks. If you too find yourself unable to make it from one meal to the next and are looking for healthy snacks to silence the tummy rumbles, then this is the blog post for you. I hope you enjoy it!
Sparkling water or Green tea
Before you start shouting at me that this is not a snack in the true sense of the word, give me a second to explain myself. I know that liquids don’t really count as snacks, but these two drinks, in particular, might as well be counted as honourary snacks. Why is that you may ask? Well, sometimes our brain sends signals to our body that we are hungry when we actually aren’t. This is because our brain doesn’t want us to starve or run out of energy when we might need it, but also because humans, in general, have become so used to overeating that our brain tells us we need to eat when our bodies are actually fine and don’t need anything. The only problem is that it is hard to tell the difference between fake hungry or real hungry. The solution, and how to figure out which one you are, is to drink either sparkling water or green tea. Sparkling water is surprisingly filling, and there are many health benefits for drinking green tea, including it being a natural appetite suppressant. So, if you feel hungry, try drinking a glass or cup of one of these. If you still feel hungry thirty minutes later, then you know that you are actually hungry and can grab a proper snack. If you aren’t still hungry though, that means your brain was just trying to be sneaky, and you got the point in that round. So try it out – I think you’ll be surprised to find how many times you aren’t actually hungry.
Berries covered in yoghurt
This is an excellent snack because it is easy to make, healthy and filled with yumminess. Sometimes you are craving something sweet, but most store-bought sweet things are so sugary and unhealthy that they just aren’t worth it. The solution to this is yoghurt-covered berries. Berries are sweet but also incredibly healthy (they have some of the lowest calories of all the fruits). Greek yoghurt is also very healthy and can help fill you up when you are feeling peckish. So why not add the two of them together? Pick your favourite berry, coat it in Greek yoghurt and then place it on a baking sheet and in the freezer for at least an hour. Once they are done, voila! You now have a healthy, sweet and filling snack to keep you going. Plus, what is great about this is you can make lots in advance and keep them in the freezer, so it is also great if you don’t always have time to keep remaking snacks.
Carrot and celery sticks
This is my mom’s snack of choice, and while I’m not the biggest fan of celery, I can definitely tell you that it is one of the healthiest, and hunger-stopping snacks you will ever eat. Carrot and celery sticks are great snacks because they are very healthy and full of proper nutrients that your body needs but because they are crunchy and take some time to chew and eat, they also quench your hunger quite quickly. The other great thing about this snack is that celery is so fibrous that your body actually burns more calories trying to digest it than you actually get from eating it. So not only are celery sticks an excellent healthy snack that stop you from feeling hungry, but you actually burn calories from eating it. Now, doesn’t that sound like the best kind of snack?
Popcorn is one of my favourite snacks to nibble on if I am feeling peckish because it is light, crunchy and warm. Popcorn is also surprisingly healthy because it contains vitamins and minerals, is high in fibre but is also a whole grain, which is good for boosting heart health. Now popcorn is only a healthy snack if you don’t add all of the salt, butter and other movie-like flavourings because as soon as you do that, what was a healthy snack goes from being about as healthy as a cooldrink or bar of chocolate. But, if you don’t add all the nonsense to your popcorn, it is an excellent snack because it is good for munching and is light enough to not be a whole meal, but it will fill you up until it is time for your proper meal. If popcorn is the snack you choose, then you get to enjoy a movie snack anytime you want!
The world has kicked into an all-new healthy gear over the last few years, which makes it so much easier for all of us to find healthy foods that we enjoy and that actually taste good. A great snack to try, especially if you have enough time for baking, is health muffins. The reason I love health muffins as a snack is because you can get quite a bit of the yumminess that you get from a regular muffin without the intense sweetness or thousands of calories. They are also great because by replacing the unhealthy ingredients with healthy ingredients, you get a lot more nutrients and goodness out of it and lastly because they are a wheat-based snack, they are naturally quite filling. I have a special recipe for healthy banana and apple muffins that I created early this year. If I am ever in a rush to get to work and made a batch over the weekend, I grab two of those muffins and am good to go. Both of them combined are only 150 calories, and they are just as filling as me making myself a proper breakfast. If you have the time to bake, then health muffins are definitely the way to go.
No-bake energy balls
These are something new that I only recently learned about, but as soon as I tried them, there is no going back. Like I said with health muffins, the world is all of a sudden a lot more interested in being healthy and with the urge to make it easier and more enjoyable to be healthy, came a plethora of new healthy recipes that also happen to be convenient. Now, there are a million varieties of these no-bake energy balls, but what it basically is is an energy bar turned into a no-bake ball of goodness. They are easy to make, you can make lots in advance, and you can add whatever you want to get the exact flavour you are looking for. They are healthy and perfect as a snack or even as a breakfast-on-the-go. Also, because most recipes use oats and nut butter as the foundation ingredients, this makes them incredibly sustaining because both those ingredients slowly release the energy into your body. Plus, they are really cute and fun to make, so there really isn’t a good reason to not add these energy balls to your list of snacks.
A tiny salad
I love salads. Not because I am part rabbit and just love to eat lettuce all day and every day (even though I do really love lettuce). No, I love salads because there are so many different ways to make a salad and salads are actually incredibly filling. This is because most of the standard salad ingredients are full of fibre and so if you eat a standard salad (with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a little red onion) at a moderate pace, you’ll find that you are actually quite filled up, even without any exciting ingredients. So, a great snack idea is to make yourself a tiny salad to snack on. You can add whichever ingredients you want but try to keep that standard fibrous base because that is where a lot of the good stuff comes from. I promise you salads are the way to go – they will fill you up, they are so healthy and good for you, and if you keep it simple, there are almost no calories in it. How great?
Avocado and homemade ‘salsa.’
Avocado is a fantastic snack. Again, it is filled with good nutrients and is actually quite a sustainable snack, but the only problem with avocado on its own is that it isn’t always nice to eat lots of it because of its texture. The solution is to add a little homemade salsa, basically a small bowl of sliced tomato, onion and herbs (or what others would call a bruschetta topping). This snack is just perfect if you are looking for a small bite to hold you over to your next meal that is both healthy and filled with flavour. It’s in my top ten because I love the ingredients so much, but also because there are so many flavours you can cram into it. The one problem with healthy food is that it sometimes isn’t very flavourful. Well, there is no danger of that with this snack because if you add the right herbs and spices, this snack will just be a delicious flavour explosion in your mouth.
Fruits in general
There are very few fruits that don’t count as tasty, healthy snacks. So, instead of just saying, for the 9th time, that fruits are good snacks because they are healthy, low in calories and filled with good nutrients (oh darn it look I did it again), I’m instead going to give you a list of good fruit snacks because some are better and easier to handle as snacks than others. Apples are always good. So are bananas, berries and grapes. Grapefruits are fantastic if you can handle the taste and slice it up ahead of time. Same for oranges, which are so packed full of vitamins you won’t know what to do with yourself. Mango is also a really good one, but needs to be sliced up ahead of time and watermelon is another great one because it is so filling (due to all the fibre in it). As you can see, there are so many fruits, and this list is just the start, that are good for you and make healthy snacks that can sustain you when you need a little push of energy. All you have to do is pick which fruits are your favourite.
For my last one, I know that I am being a little unfair to anyone reading this who isn’t South African, but I love this snack so much, and it is so great that I couldn’t not include it. So, biltong is basically a dried meat product (people overseas might have something like Jerky come to mind, but I can assure that biltong is worlds better than Jerky) and is one of the most popular snacks among South Africans. The reason why biltong is such a great snack is that it is a meat-based snack that is incredibly healthy. It is an excellent source of protein and is low in carbohydrates, but above all of that, it is incredibly delicious. Biltong is also a great snack if you are hungry because there are so many different types and most of which are chewy. The chewing, plus it being a high source of protein, makes it a snack that can keep you going for quite a while. I know that this point is only relevant to South Africans, but I hope that it serves as motivation for all those who aren’t South Africans to come and visit South Africa. If not for all of the other tourist reasons, then at the very least for the biltong. It really is a fantastic snack.
And so there you have it! I hope that you have all enjoyed this blog post and that it was helpful and useful to all of you who find yourselves snacking but need a healthy alternative that will keep you going until your next meal. For my question of the day:
– What is your healthy, hunger-stopping snack of choice?
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Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx