Looking for the perfect healthy balanced snacks to help you beat that mid-day hanger? Look no further. Here are 25 of my favourite balanced snack ideas to help power you through your day.
As a Registered Dietitian snacks are my love language. I am firm believer that food is fuel and snacks are not only important but NECESSARY. They are an important part of a healthy lifetyle and can help you obtain important nutrients thorughout the day, while also keeping you energized and satisfied between meals!
However despite how important including snacks in your daily routine is, grabbing a handful of crackers or a piece of fruit isn't always going to cut it. Sure that apple may help curb your hugner for maybe an hour but what about after that? We want to make sure the snacks we are eating are not only accesible but also beneficial to our bodies!
Which is why today we are going to talk about HOW to build a balanced snack that will keep you feeling energized, full and satisfied throughout the day!
The secret to healthy balanced snacks
My secret to building good lunch snacks is simple. It's all about finding the perfect PAIRING.
When creating the perfect healthy balanced snacks we want to always make sure we are choosing AT LEAST two of the following nutrients.
- Carbohydrates- Our bodies number one energy source! This is why you might notice on days you had a poor sleep you crave more carbohydrate heavy food like pasta. Carbs are the fuel that powers our body throughout the day so they are incredibly important when looking for a snack that will keep you energized!
- When choosing carbohydrates for my balanced snack I always recommend choosing a higher fibre option (ie. whole grain or whole wheat). These options provide longer-lasting energy so they are perfect for a lunch snack!
- Protein- The building blocks of our muscles! Protein helps to build and repair muscle growth while also providing energy to our brains. Adding a protein source into your snacks can help regulate your blood sugar levels to help avoid blood sugar spikes while also helping you stay fuller for a longer period of time.
- Fat- For satisfaction! Despite popular belief, including healthy sources of fats in your diet is so important for maintaining a healthy lifetyle! Fats can help your body absorb vitamins, regulate your metabolism and help avoid blood sugar spikes. Adding a source of fat into your snacks will help you feel full and satisfied!
- As fats are a more calorie dense food- remember a little goes a long way when it comes to snacks!
If you're ever stuck staring aimlessly into your fridge my go-to motto is always to pair protein for power with fibre for fullness!
Easy ways to level up your snacks
I always find the easiest way to incorporate more balanced snacks is by taking something you already love to eat and 'leveling it up' by adding some extra nutrition!
My absolute favourite ways to do this are:
For extra protein:
- Greek yogurt - add this into any of your favourite dips or sauces for an easy protein boost- it also works as a nutritious alternative to mayonnaise
- Cottage cheese - recently I discovered blended cottage cheese and I'm never going back! When blended, I find the texture similar to Greek yogurt but a little more creamy! So you can easily add this into your favourite dips or sauces or even add a touch of honey and serve with fruit!
- Beans or legumes- White beans are my current go-to secret ingredient to makign the BEST creamy avocado toast. Simply smash in some white beans with your avocado and you are go to go (I promise you can't even taste them)! This also works in wraps, as a spread on crackers or even blended into dips!
- Hemp Seeds- If you haven't tried hemp seeds yet this is your sign you need them in your life! Youc an sprinkle them on ANYTHING (toast, salads, dips etc.) and two tablespoons contains almost 5g of protein!
- Protein powder- An easy option to add to anything (baked goods, smoothies, dips, oatmeal, cereal) you can choose an unflavored option or a flavoured option for a little extra taste! This is my personal favourite!
For extra fibre:
- Beans- Beans are the holy grail in the nutrition world. Not only do they provided added protein but also added fibre! Mash some beans into your next spread, dip or even blend them into your smoothies!
- All bran buds- Sprinkle a serving onto your next yogurt bowl or smoothie bowl for almost 5g of additional fibre!
- Chia seeds- One tablespoon provides almost 5g of fibre! Add a sprinkle onto your avocado toast, peanut butter toast, or on your cereal, yogurt bowls or smoothie bowls for a fibre boost! I recommend buying WHOLE chia seeds if you can!
- Whole grain carbohydrates- This is an easy swap next time you are at the store. Look for whole wheat options of your favourite carbohydrates (ie. bread, tortillas etc.). Many brands also offer white 'higher fibre' options if you can't get past the taste of whole wheat!
- Leave the skin on your fruits/ veggies- My personal favourite way to not only boost the fibre content of my snacks but also reduce my food waste! The skin actually contains the largest amount of fibre in a piece of fruit so I love leaving the skin on my fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, apples, pears etc.! Just make sure they're edible!
Here are some of my favourite balanced snack ideas
- Snickers protein balls
- Vegan snack cookies
- nut free granola bars with plain yogurt
- Whole wheat toast topped with 3- ingredient chia jam
- Banana bread oatmeal cups topped with peanut butter
- Herb and Garlic cottage cheese dip
- Homemade garden salsa with whole grain tortilla chips
- Chickpea and vegetable fritters
- Carrot fries with high protein chipotle dip
- Air fryer roasted chickpeas
Don't feel like making a whole recipe?
Don't worry! Here are some of my favourite no-recipe balanced snack ideas!
- Plain Greek yogurt with berries and all bran buds
- Whole wheat toast topped with peanut butter mixed with Greek yogurt and bananas
- A piece of fruit (ie. an apple) paired with a handful of nuts or nut butter for dipping (leave the skin on the furit for extra fibre)
- Smoothies with milk, yogurt, berries and spinach
- Banana tortilla roll ups with peanut butter
- Sliced peaches and blended cottage cheese with a touch of honey (a healthier peaches and cream option)
- Cereal with protein milk (blend your favorutie protein powder into the milk) and top with berries
- Smashed avocado with white beans on whole wheat bread or crackers
- Plain popcorn with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top
- Hummus with crackers
- Turkey and cheese pinwheels (roll ups)
- Crackers with melted cheese and veggies on the side
- Hard boiled eggs on a piece of toast with feta cheese
- Whole wheat crackers ( I love Ryvita) with avocado and hemp seeds (or your favourite seasoning)
- Cottage cheese with everything but the bagel seasoning served with crackers and chopped veggies
My motto is always 'nutrition doesn't need to be overly complicated'. You don't need to buy 100 new products or resrict your favourite foods. I love finding ways to 'level up' the foods I already have in the cupboard to create balanced meals and snacks that not only taste amazing but also satisfy me!
There are LOTS more easy nutrition tips and tricks where this came from so make sure you follow along on my social media sites- @nourishedbynic or join my email newsletter list to get first access to all my favourite nutrition hacks and easy recipes!!