When it comes to snacking, often we find ourselves raiding the nearest vending machine for something to ease our growling tummies. Not only is this more expensive than having a homemade snack—or some fruits or veggies—it's usually very unhealthy too. Here are our 10 favorite healthy snack alternatives for men and women who want to lead healthy, active lifestyles.
1. Frozen Peanut Butter and Chocolate Banana Bites
Cut 2 or 3 bananas into bite-size slices. Have a cookie sheet ready and lined with waxed paper or parchment paper. Coat each slice with peanut butter, dip into melted chocolate and lay slices on the cookie sheet. Put the slices into the freezer and freeze for at least one hour. Four frozen banana bites equal one 200-calorie serving.
2. Apple-Pie Oat Bars
These are so delicious and very healthy, and they taste just like apple pie! Cook three cups plain or cinnamon oatmeal. Slice three or four apples into small bite-sized pieces. In a glass or non-stick cake pan, make alternating layers of oatmeal and apple slices with apple being the top layer. Brush the top with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, let cool, then cut into slices. Two slices equals a serving and is less than 200 calories with no sugar, low fat and low sodium.
3. Skinny Sweet-Potato Chips
Slice one large sweet potato into thin slices. Use parchment paper cut to the size of the glass plate in your microwave. Lay the slices out evenly on the plate, spray lightly with cooking spray, then sprinkle with a mixture of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and sea salt. Microwave at 60% power until chips start turning light brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. One sweet potato makes 36 chips which is two servings that are 100 calories each.
4. Baked Zucchini Chips
For baked Zucchini chips, follow the recipe for the Sweet Potato chips, just use zucchini slices instead of sweet potato. If you love zucchini, you'll love these chips! There are only 100 calories in a serving of 18 chips.
5. Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries for this easy recipe. All you do is dip the berries into plain or vanilla yogurt and freeze them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. These make great summertime treats for kids, too. One serving is 10 berry bites at about 100 calories per serving.
6. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Take one 15-ounce can of chickpeas. Drain and rinse. Spread evenly onto a baking tray coated lightly with cooking spray. In a bowl, mix 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and ½ tsp salt. Brush chick peas with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle spice mixture evenly. Bake for 10 minutes while turning the chick peas every two minutes, then bake for an additional 10 minutes to finish. This recipe makes three servings at 140 calories each.
7. Fruity Peanut-Butter Protein Balls
These make great afternoon snacks, or even a pre- or post-workout snack. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup dried fruit, ½ cup peanut butter, ¼ cup ground flax, 1 cup uncooked oats, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, 2 scoops vanilla protein powder and 3 tablespoons vanilla almond milk. Use your clean hands to combine the ingredients and form into one-inch balls. If the mix seems dry, add a bit more almond milk but not too much. On a cookie sheet, let the balls chill in the fridge for about an hour. Store balls in the fridge in an airtight container. Each ball is 135 calories and packed with nutrients.
8. Parmesan Popcorn
This super simple idea is delicious and low calorie. Make some unbuttered popcorn and put in into a bowl. Grate some parmesan cheese and toss the popcorn with it until you have a light, even coating of cheese. For some extra kick, try sprinkling some Italian seasoning in there too. One two-cup serving is less than 200 calories.
9. Granny’s Homemade Ranch and Veggie Dip
Grate or chop a small amount of onion into a large bowl. Add 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt, ½ cup light sour cream and ½ cup mayo. Then add seasoned salt (we like Bon Appetit) and 2 tsp dried dill weed. Whisk ingredients together and refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving. This dip goes great with carrot sticks, celery, sugar snap peas and broccoli florets. This recipe makes eight servings. One serving of this dip is ¼ cup and at just under 200 calories, it's a great alternative to traditional bottled Ranch dressing with no added sugar and very little fat.
All of these snacks are low in calories, high in nutrients and made with zero processed food ingredients. This is extremely healthy and a far better alternative to vending machine “food.” Have some fun in the kitchen making these snacks for yourself and for your family. We know you’ll love them!