Satisfy Junk Food Cravings with These Healthy Snack Recipes
Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet, salty, creamy or crunchy, these healthy snack ideas and recipes are sure to satisfy.
What do you do when you’re craving unhealthy junk food? Well, that’s up to you—you basically have three choices. You can just go for it and eat the food you’re craving, not worrying about the consequences. You can eat the junk food, but just have a small portion so it doesn’t do too much damage to your waistline or your health. Or you can be prepared with healthy snack options (and tasty snack recipes!) that can satisfy your cravings in a better-for-you way.
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When it comes to healthy snacks, there are plenty of foods to choose from. The issue with some of these foods, however, is that they may not always do the trick when it comes to satisfying your cravings. If your healthy snack doesn’t stop you from craving the taste you were originally yearning for, it may set you up for a binge.
Most snack cravings can be easily identified—you either want something sweet, salty or spicy and either crunchy, chewy or creamy —or you want some combination of these. No matter which of these tastes and sensations you’re craving, here are four healthy snack ideas and recipes that will leave you feeling satisfied. They not only pack more nutrition than their junk food alternatives, but they’re tasty, too!
4 Healthy Snacks (and Healthy Snack Recipes)
Nuts. Thanks to their saltiness and crunch, nuts are a healthy snack that can satisfy your craving for less-than-healthy salty snacks. The nutrition profile of nuts is far superior to those of chips, pretzels and crackers. They contain protein and fiber that helps fill you up and keeps you energized. They also are high in unsaturated fat, which is linked to heart health, rather than unhealthy saturated or trans fats. To avoid consuming too much sodium, choose a lightly salted variety. Almonds and pistachios contain more potassium than other nuts, which helps reduce the effects of sodium and naturally regulates blood pressure.
Healthy Snack Recipe: Pecan Date Nut Bites
Dried Fruit. When you’re in need of a sugar fix, skip the candy and choose chewy, sweet dried fruit. Raisins, dried cranberries, dates, prunes and other dried fruit, such as apricots, pineapple, mango and apples, typically contain no added sugar, but they’re very sweet due to their natural sugar content. They also contain fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels steadier. Keep in mind, however, that dried fruit can have a lot of calories so watch portion sizes—and definitely eat less than you would if you were eating the same fruit in its original form. Enjoy dried fruit on its own or pair with whole-grain cereal, nuts and seeds to make a healthy snack mix.
Healthy Snack Recipe: Cranberry Almond Trail Mix
Chickpeas. You may not think of chickpeas when you think of snack food, but you should. When you season and roast chickpeas, they become the perfect savory, crunchy snack. One serving also supplies 5 grams of protein and fiber, filling you up and keeping you satisfied longer than if you were to eat other types of crunchy snacks. You’ll find packaged chickpea snacks in stores, but the best way to enjoy this healthy snack is to make it yourself. Here’s how: Rinse and drain chickpeas, then dry with a paper towel. Lightly toss chickpeas with a small bit of olive oil and your favorite herbs or spices. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes, until lightly browned and crunchy (shake halfway through for uniform results).
Healthy Snack Recipe: Crispy Chickpeas
Hummus. For a super-creamy snack, don’t discount hummus. This healthy snack can satisfy all types of junk food cravings, whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory. It comes in a wide variety of flavors, from garlic, jalapeno and roasted pepper to chocolate, brownie batter and vanilla. Pair a savory version of this bean-based dip with raw veggies and whole-grain crackers or pair a sweet version with apple slices and graham crackers. Since hummus is made from chickpeas, you’ll get a dose of protein and fiber while you’re satisfying you’re craving.
Healthy Snack Recipes: Garlic Hummus