If you’ve ever tried to lose weight by exercising 7 days a week but failed to alter your diet, you probably know that weight loss didn’t come quickly. Experts agree that successful weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. What that means is that you create a bigger calorie deficit by watching what you eat rather than the calories you burn by exercising. After all, it’s a lot easier to say no to the candy bar than to run for 45 minutes to burn it off.
That said, watching your diet doesn’t mean starving yourself. Far from it, the healthiest diets often include several snacks each day. The key to a good snack is making sure it is healthy: free from refined ingredients, artificial flavors, and preservatives, but also loaded with beneficial nutrients. You want your snacks to be high quality calories – not just empty ones. Here are the top 5 quick and healthy snacks:
Date and nut energy bars
There’s a reason energy bars are usually included on the good snack list: they are high in fiber and (sometimes) protein. High fiber snacks will help you feel full longer, meaning less chance of the munchies until your next meal. Be aware however of energy bars loaded with sugar and tons of calories; you don’t necessarily want a meal replacement bar as a snack.
Choose an energy bar with natural ingredients like nuts and dates. Loaded with dates, nuts, and other dried fruits, the Lara Bar is one energy bar that tastes like a dessert, especially the chocolate chip cookie dough. If you can’t decide on a flavor, opt for the variety pack and you’ll get one of each flavor (16 altogether.)
If you’ve got more time to spare, make your own by blending dates, nuts, and dried fruit of your choice. Form into bit size bars and voila!
[amazon_link asins=’B007NMDY38′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’61461fbd-8d38-11e7-adf3-c971ecac1173′]
Cottage cheese and fruit cup
Cottage cheese and fruit is a classic snack, but you don’t always have time to slice fresh fruit – especially if you’re heading out the door to work. Dole Fruit Bowls are a great choice to pair with cottage cheese, especially when peaches are out of season. Not to mention, the fruit cups are GMO-free.
Why is cottage cheese and fruit a good option? The cottage cheese is loaded with protein, calcium and other minerals, and vitamins. Again, that protein will help you feel full. Fruit is a good choice as it in rich in key vitamins like vitamin C.
[amazon_link asins=’B00GFROUYY,B00WPU3XZW’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7c2da35c-8d38-11e7-a37a-cb01bf4b6167′]
Real trail mix
Trail mix is often on the list of quick, healthy snacks, but choosing the right trail mix can mean the difference between glorified candy and an actual health-boosting snack. Avoid any trail mix that contains actual candy pieces or anything with artificial colors. Create your own trail mixes with walnuts for extra omega 3’s, which boost brain health. For dried fruit, choose from black mission figs (which have more calcium that milk!), apricots (high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber), or prunes (good for healthy bones but also high in iron and potassium). Once a week, make a batch of your trail mix of choice and portion into daily servings; then grab and go!
[amazon_link asins=’B000XBCBW6,B0195IK8QS,B00Q0632P8,B00OKMQK3A,B01LYMUSOF’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d23ac059-8d38-11e7-9df5-1515ba06220d’]
Nuts ‘n More
Who doesn’t love a good piece of Nutella toast? (Or frankly, anything with Nutella?) Unfortunately, Nutella isn’t number one on the healthy snack list, but there is a good alternative: Nuts ‘n More hazelnut spread. This tasty spread is actually good for you with 9g of protein, organic flax, omega 3’s, and high fiber – all the markings of a good quality snack. Spread it on a whole wheat tortilla with sliced strawberries for a quick and yummy snack. Since it is high in protein, this is a good choice for an after work-out snack.
[amazon_link asins=’B0713V9NWJ’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’de41f91b-8d38-11e7-bb1b-0fdab03eeb86′]
Banana wraps are an easy, protein-packed snack that can hold up well in a lunch box or on a road trip. Simply take an organic whole wheat tortilla and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on top. Place a peeled banana on the tortilla and roll it up. The key is to find a high quality peanut butter that is free from added sugars, palm oil, or other additives. Teddie Old Fashioned Peanut Butter is non-GMO with no sugar or preservatives added. This too is a good post-workout snack since the potassium from the banana can help prevent muscle cramps.
[amazon_link asins=’B006045OH4′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’top50c30-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fcdbfd55-8d38-11e7-a98e-6f0a6b4c30d4′]