Making healthy snacks every day should also be an objective of healthy eating that we often do not take into account. As with healthy breakfasts , which we have already talked about extensively, the afternoon snack is also one of the fundamental meals of our daily diet.
The snack should provide 10 to 15% of daily calories . It is interesting that it is not very abundant, to avoid losing the appetite at dinner, but it should help us provide the necessary energy so as not to arrive with a huge hunger at night, and to avoid the dreaded low blood sugar.
Sometimes due to lack of time or convenience we tend to consume unhealthy foods at snack time, throwing away industrial pastries that are not recommended. However, there are many options to make healthy snacks that we are going to detail. And the best thing is that these ideas are not at odds with making quick and easy snacks, so you have no excuses not to try them.
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What snacks are healthier?
Well, as almost everything in life depends, in this case on age and lifestyle, a snack for children is not the same as a snack for an adult , nor should an athlete consume the same as a sedentary person.
A healthy snack should be similar to a mid-morning lunch (small sandwich, fruit, nuts, or natural juice, milk, or yogurt).
Having said that, our opinion has always been that, unless you have some health condition that forces you not to consume certain foods (diabetes, obesity, etc…), it is okay if we occasionally consume some type of homemade pastry in our snacks ( buns, cookies, etc…). Of course, it should be something punctual, because normally these foods have too much sugar and calories to consume them on a daily basis, and if you have a whim for something sweet, it should preferably be homemade pastries to avoid hydrogenated and saturated vegetable fats such as coconut or palm fat.
Homemade pastries will allow us to know the ingredients they contain, and we can always make them as healthy as possible, incorporating nuts, changing butter for oil, using less sugar, etc…
Find your ideal snack
The best snack at any time is what we can call “Anti-Hunger Tray”: a piece of seasonal fruit, a slice of lean cold cuts and 2-5 nuts.
Healthy snacks that improve concentration
- Ex.1.- Vegetable sandwich of tuna or salmon for its content in omega-3, polyunsaturated fatty acids that improve intellectual performance and concentration. Nuts are also highly recommended as well as citrus fruits and replace fluids.
- Ex. 2.- 2 tangerines, smoked salmon and 2 walnuts . You can accompany both examples with a green or white tea, which are the less exciting varieties but more antioxidants to combat mental fatigue and keep your brain in shape.
Snacks that calm the appetite.
- Sandwich of integral bread, serrano ham, rubbed tomato and oil . The olive oil is very satiating and the bread provides slow-release carbohydrates and fiber that will balance your appetite. In addition, Serrano ham, due to its protein content, slows down the absorption of carbohydrates from bread and tomato.
anti- stress snacks
- Calming infusion with Tila, Passionflower, Luisa Herb, Lemon Balm, White Hawthorn, Valerian…
Very interesting are the combinations of foods rich in Tryptophan, the precursor of Serotonin, which is calming, raises your spirits and helps you fall asleep:
- Ex. 1.- Banana + 1 slice of turkey + 5 Almonds
- Ex. 2.- Montadito of avocado and egg
Foods rich in Magnesium are also very relaxing, so you can add some skimmed milk or nuts as we already recommend.
Snacks that calm the desire for sweets
- In this case, eat foods rich in tryptophan (milk, cheese, kiwi, banana, avocado, nuts, turkey and chicken)
- Add cinnamon to your coffee or infusion to help regulate blood sugar spikes and “tame” your appetite for sweets.
Healthy snacks for children
When they are babies, at snack time, it is best to continue with the fruit puree until the child rejects it. When this time comes, we can give him whole fruit, pieces, yogurt, or some bread. We will avoid nuts for now, since up to 3 years there may be a danger of choking.
snacks for older children
As the child grows and does more physical and intellectual activity, he should and will want to eat more. For these cases, the ideal is a small sandwich or snack . Try to use whole -grain seed or cereal bread since its contribution in fiber, minerals and vitamins is greater, and it will help in case of childhood constipation .
You can also offer them sweets such as cakes, cookies… homemade, in this way you can make them healthier (for example, changing butter for oil, using less sugar…) and we can incorporate nuts, fruits…
Here are some suggestions for children’s snacks:
- Mixed fruit salad is a way to introduce fruit into your diet.
- Homemade yogurts with fruit or honey and nuts.
- Fruit smoothies (blend cow’s milk or soy/rice milk with fruit and add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg). In this link you will find a few recipes for fruit smoothies .
- Sandwiches , are the favorites for snack. Try to make bread wholemeal and with seeds so that it provides fiber and vitamins. To fill the sandwiches, it is best to avoid pâtés and fatty cheeses. Serrano ham and sweet ham are the healthiest, and you can also prepare homemade chicken cold cuts . Homemade chocolate spreads and canned fish are also great options.
- Homemade biscuits , to which you can add some dried fruit such as walnuts for example. Use oil and if you can reduce the amount of sugar. You can accompany it with half a glass of milk so that they do not take an excess of dairy products.
- Nuts: Best raw and unsalted . Pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, walnuts… Nuts provide vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant), folic acid, fiber (ideal for combating constipation ), regulate cholesterol due to their plant sterols and are satiating, and protein. They have a good dose of magnesium that has the property of regulating blood pressure and is very important for the proper functioning of the muscles. Remember that until the age of 3 you must give them very finely chopped to avoid choking.
- Bread with tomato and sausage : Serrano ham, York ham, turkey or cheese. Avoid the fatty ones such as fuet, sausage, chorizo, mortadella… Be careful to cut the serrano ham very small to avoid choking.
- Homemade cereal bars (below we leave you some recipes)
- Homemade natural fruit ice creams for good weather (freeze any juice that is 100% fresh fruit, except pineapple which does not freeze well, and put it in small paper cups or ice trays; insert a stick and put them in freezer until hardened; remove ice cream from cup or tray by running it under hot running water for 10 seconds. Alternatively, mix yoghurt and fruit juice).
What should we avoid in snacks?
The salty snacks
They usually contain a large percentage of fat (hydrogenated) and salt, which is not recommended for a healthy diet. In addition, these products accustom us to intense (salty) and unnatural flavors and replace other healthier foods.
Soft drinks and packaged juices
As we have already explained on several occasions, soft drinks are not recommended. They are a mixture of sugar, calories, caffeine and additives that you should avoid in your diet. Water should always be the drink of choice. It is a very common mistake to drink packaged juices several times a day. They should not be abused. They have a lot of sugar and will cause loss of appetite when eating. A natural juice is more recommended as it will provide vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Industrial pastries and fatty sausages
For its contribution in sugar and saturated fats.
Healthy snack ideas for lunch
Preparing healthy sandwiches is not complicated, you just have to choose a good bread, such as wholemeal rye bread, and fill it with one of the ingredients that we suggest.
Get used to having a sardine sandwich from time to time because it is one of the healthiest options. Sardines can be considered pharmacy canned, because they are full of Omega-3 and nutrients, and they are a delicious option to eat fish almost without realizing it.
Vegetable sandwiches are a perfect option for a light and very healthy snack.
French omelet and avocado sandwich
Another option is this Turkey Omelette Avocado Sandwich . Depending on the size of it, you can already have a snack-dinner eating something lighter just before going to bed.
What do we fill the snack sandwiches with?
It is important not to give them too much protein and dairy at snack and mid-morning, as this way there will be an excess of total protein. For that reason, a small amount will suffice.
- Avoid pâtés, fatty cheeses, sausages, etc.
- Serrano ham and sweet ham are the healthiest regarding fats and cholesterol but with a high percentage of sodium.
- On the other hand, canned fish (tuna, sardines, mackerel, anchovies) are rich in omega 3, therefore heart-healthy, although they also have a large amount of sodium, but now they are low in salt.
- We can also use vegetable pâtés and homemade hazelnut cream .
- Another idea is to melt two pieces of dark chocolate in the microwave (at a minimum and for a very short time) and once melted spread it on the bread, delicious, with hardly any fat and with antioxidants.
homemade chicken cold cuts
Before we told you that it is better not to abuse industrial sausages due to the large amount of sodium and preservatives they have. But we can make a homemade chicken cold cut , absolutely healthy and delicious. Also, as we do it in the microwave, it is prepared in a jiffy.
Another great idea is to always have homemade pâtés at home , which are very simple to make and allow us multiple variations, from the traditional pork liver pâté , to mussels and tuna pâté . You just have to spread them on a slice of bread and enjoy!
This chocolate and hazelnut cream would be a homemade Nutella of a lifetime. You will see how children fall in love with their snacks.
Homemade cookies for healthy snacks
Homemade cookies are an excellent alternative to a glass of milk to enjoy a healthy snack. Of course, as we mentioned before, you always have to try to take them in moderation to avoid making us hungry for dinner.
Among the many options that there are, we recommend oatmeal cookies , which you can also combine with fruits, such as oatmeal and banana cookies , or even with cocoa .
Fruit smoothies for snack
Another great option is to prepare fruit shakes or smoothies . The combination of fruit and dairy becomes an alternative that, in addition to being rich, is very healthy. If you dare, you can also take the opportunity to prepare detox smoothies that combine fruits and different vegetables.
Among the smoothies, we recommend the banana smoothie , which, in addition to being simple, is very nutritious. Now that we are in the season, you can also make a strawberry smoothie , or combine both in a strawberry and banana smoothie that will be even healthier if you add some hydrated oats in milk overnight.
Healthy homemade cupcakes
Like cookies, homemade biscuits are also an excellent option to prepare a healthy snack. You can use in addition to the common ingredients, nuts or fruits to give them more flavor and make them even more nutritious. Try, for example, the banana cake , the yogurt cake , the carrot and walnut cake , the almond cake , or the hazelnut cake .
Cereal bars, healthy energy for snacking
You already know that cereals have a great energy content , but unlike other sugars, they are slow-release and perfect for a balanced diet, in addition to having numerous vitamins and fiber .
In addition to cereals , these bars include fruits and nuts among their ingredients. They are very easy to make and if you try them, you will repeat.
Oatmeal pancakes, healthy snack recipes
And we are going to finish with a sweet that at the same time is a healthy option for our snacks, the oatmeal pancakes .
Homemade yogurts, a very healthy option
Another perfect option for a snack is to have a homemade yogurt that we can combine with fruit or nuts. Look what richer options we leave you
As you can see, making healthy snacks that fill us with energy is just a matter of choosing among all the options that we offer you. Let us know what you think of our proposals.