Advertising

Last Updated on February 25, 2021

15 Quick and Healthy Snacks to Help You Stick to Your Diet

15 Quick and Healthy Snacks to Help You Stick to Your Diet
Advertising

Are you trying to keep your weight in check? This is a worthy goal, but it can be difficult to stick to your diet when you get hungry between meals. Staying on course is easy if you keep your snacks between meals to healthy, low-calorie options. The added advantage of eating regular quick and healthy snacks is that it keeps your energy up and will help you stay focused during the day.

Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring either. Quick and healthy snacks can be flavorful and delicious without causing you to pack on the pounds. Here are 15 quick and healthy snacks for when you get the munchies, which is often inevitable as you’re dieting.

As you change the amount of calories you’re putting into your body, hunger is natural. Often, a small snack is all it takes to curb this side effect of dieting.

1. Vegetable Sticks

I know you are going to tell me carrot and celery sticks are boring, but if you add peanut butter or hummus, it becomes a well-rounded snack with a dose of vitamins, protein and fiber. This is also a great option for when you’re on the go as you can cut up some vegetables and stow them in a small container for a few hours without them going bad.

If you know you generally get hunger pangs at a certain point in your work day, having this quick and healthy snack nearby will help you tackle hunger and stop you reaching for those donuts your coworker brought in for everyone today.

Advertising

2. Olives

10 olives only contain about 60 calories, so next time you are having a party, rather than eat fatty, unhealthy potato chips, reach for the olives. They can also be enjoyed with drinks other than Martinis.

Olives are high in Vitamin E, a type of antioxidant that can protect cells from free radicals, keeping you healthier longer, as well as healthy fats. They are also good for the heart and may protect against osteoporosis and cancer.

3. Fruit

A lot of low carbohydrate diets advise against fruit. For me, if a diet doesn’t allow you fruit, then it’s a bad diet.

The traditional diet fruits like grapefruit, melon, berries, and apricots are lowest in sugars and best to eat when dieting[1]. However, other fruits like apples, pears, and citrus fruits contain helpful vitamins that will keep you healthy, but it’s best to consume small servings of these to avoid sugar spikes during your day. This can lead to craving other types of sugars, which can derail a diet if it continues.

4. Dried Fruit and Nuts

Dried fruit and nuts should be snacked on in very small quantities. Dried fruit is very high in sugar, and nuts are high in fats, so as a snack you should limit your intake to about a tablespoon. The good thing about nuts is if you can discipline yourself to eat very few, they keep the hunger at bay and offer a protein boost to help suppress your appetite.

Advertising

5. Strawberries and Low-Fat, Natural Yogurt

Low-fat yogurt is a great option for protein and calcium. If it’s natural, it will be low in sugars, so you’ll avoid throwing your insulin out of whack in the middle of the day. Low-fat yogurt obviously doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but adding a few strawberries can add a little sweetness and flavor, as well as a good dose of vitamins.

6. Cherry Tomatoes

This is a quick and healthy snack to have nearby if you’re one of those people who likes to munch while cooking. If you feel hungry while preparing your next meal, have a tray of cherry tomatoes beside you. This will keep you from dipping into the dinner and spoiling your appetite (and your diet) before dinner has even started.

Research has also shown that tomatoes anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as a good dose of Vitamin C to boost your immune system. Furthermore, 100 grams of these little beauties only contain 20-30 calories![2]

7. Rice Cakes

Yet again, I hear that exasperated sigh. The person who invented rice cakes surely had no taste buds. They are just dry, chewy crackers, BUT they somehow transform into something delicious when you spread some low-fat cheese or almond butter onto them.

Better still, add a layer of hummus and cucumber or cheese spread and tomato. For dessert, try chocolate rice cakes, or rice cakes with low-fat yogurt, and you’ll find that things are looking up.

Advertising

8. A Hard Boiled Egg

If you are really hungry, an egg can be a great option. Eggs are full of protein, which can help lower your hunger levels until your next meal. One hard-boiled egg only contains about 80 calories, but it packs in 6 grams of protein![3]

Eggs also contain choline, which is important for cellular maintenance and growth, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help support eye health.

9. Cottage Cheese

This is another traditional favorite among dieters. Cottage cheese is very tasty with vegetable sticks, on rice cakes, or with any type of whole grain cracker, so take your pick. You can even mix a small amount of fruit into a small bowl of cottage cheese if you’re craving something sweet.

10. Vegetable Soup

Make a pot of vegetable soup at the beginning of the week and separate it into freezable portions. Add low-calorie vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions, and you have a quick and healthy snack that will last you days.

This is a delicious snack option for the winter, especially, as it’ll help warm you up from the inside out.

Advertising

11. Miso Soup

Another soup option is miso soup, which is very low in fat as it is essentially a stock and simple vegetables. It is also very quick and easy to make and can be stored for several days.

12. Salad and Feta Cheese

Make a small salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and green onions. Crumble some feta cheese on top for a delicious pre-dinner snack. Just be careful to not douse it in a fattening salad dressing or one with added sugar—sorry, but that means no Ranch!

13. Ryvita and Marmite

You really have to love Marmite for this one. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great source of B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin, as well as a healthy dose of iron[4]. Put it on some whole wheat toast, add a layer of low-fat cream cheese and some cucumber, and you can relax and binge watch Netflix guilt-free.

14. Fruit Ice Popsicles

Press some summer fruits and put them into popsicle moulds. Mix with a little water to make the most refreshing and delicious treat, and one that won’t spoil your diet either.

15. Water With Citrus

Often, we think we are hungry when we are, in fact, just thirsty or a little dehydrated. Drink plenty of water during the day and add a large squeeze of your favorite citrus; it adds a nice bite and keeps you hydrated, alert, and full of energy.

Advertising

Final Thoughts

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s essential to plan quick and healthy snack ideas into your day. Choose any of the above, and mix and match to keep your diet interesting each day. Diets don’t have to be boring or bland; you just need a bit of creativity to help you reach your goals.

More Healthy Snack Ideas

    Featured photo credit: Ola Mishchenko via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

    10 Green Tea Benefits and the Best Way to Drink It 7 Wise Ways to Find Focus and Get Things Done 15 Quick and Healthy Snacks to Help You Stick to Your Diet How Mindfulness for Productivity Can Improve Your Focus This Is Why Taking Action Creates Success

    Trending in Diet & Nutrition

    1 13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach) 2 How to Break a Fast When You’re Intermittent Fasting 3 How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips 4 8 Best Foods for Dieters to Eat Healthily 5 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin B12 (Backed By Science)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on July 14, 2021

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)
    Advertising

    We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

    You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

    But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

    1. Turkey

    If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

    It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

    Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

    2. Fish

    Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

    Advertising

    Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

    Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

    3. White Rice

    White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

    White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

    4. Bananas

    Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

    Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

    5. Cheese and Crackers

    Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

    Advertising

    This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

    6. Warm Cereals

    Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

    Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

    7. Yoghurt

    Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

    Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

    Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

    8. Eggs

    Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

    Advertising

    Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

    9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

    As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

    As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

    10. Tart Cherries

    Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

    Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

    11. Honey

    Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

    It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

    Advertising

    12. Popcorn

    When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

    Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

    13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

    French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

    As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

    Final Thoughts

    When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

    Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

    When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

    Advertising

    Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

    More Healthy Snacks Options

    Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next