Packaged convenience foods give snacking a bad rap, but a nutritious snack can help you better manage your food intake during the day so you’re not overly hungry at dinner.
“Beware of ‘healthy’ snacks such as baked chips, pretzels, trail mix and granola bars,” says Amish Doshi, MD, an internal medicine physician with Edward Medical Group. “These items might be low in fat, but when consumed alone [they are] primarily carbohydrate choices and will not manage hunger very well. It’s also easy to consume more than one serving.”
So what makes the perfect snack? A combination of protein, complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fat provides nutrient balance and hunger control.
“Being a vegetarian I have found that protein can be easily overlooked in different meals. So, I like to incorporate protein in every meal [such as] with yogurt, legumes or nuts,” says Miral Amin, MD, surgical oncologist and oncoplastic breast surgeon with Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Chicago. “Mixing salty with sweet snacks and combining different textures can bring a new twist to the usual options.”
Doshi’s healthy snacks:
Cucumber and carrot slices with 1 or 2 tablespoons hummus.
String cheese (for portability and portion control) plus a fruit or vegetable.
Low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with 1 ounce almonds or other nuts.
Amin’s healthy snacks:
Chickpea and vegetable salad with yogurt dressing.
Almonds with Greek yogurt and a dash of salt.
Peanut butter with apples.
Chickpea and Vegetable Salad With Yogurt Dressing
Miral Amin, MD, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus overnight
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- ½ cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled, or 1 cup canned chickpeas
- ½ cup diced vegetables (tomatoes, onion, green pepper, cucumbers or jicama)
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon paprika or chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- Salt, to taste
- Sugar, to taste
- Soak chickpeas overnight and boil for about 45 minutes or until soft, or rinse and drain canned chickpeas.
- In a large bowl, combine chickpeas and vegetable medley.
- In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, paprika, cumin and salt and sugar to taste.
- Mix dressing with chickpeas and vegetables.