Forget Valentine’s Day—February, aka American Heart Month, is the time to focus on self-love by treating your body right.
We’ve compiled a list of delicious, nutritious snacks to help you live a healthy lifestyle. Slowly introduce some of these healthy snacks into your regular diet, and you will see that they are surprisingly filling, and soon enough, you’ll stop craving junk food and develop healthier eating habits. And to top it off, these all require little to no preparation and are very portable, which is perfect for work so that you can always have healthy options throughout the day and stay on track.
If you are craving something crunchy, nuts are a great option. They are full of Omega-3s that have a multitude of benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved bone health, reduced blood pressure, optimal HDL/LDL cholesterol levels, and even glowing skin and shiny hair. In addition, you’ll only need a small amount, as they contain fiber that will aid your digestive system and make you feel fuller.
If you are looking for a bigger snack or simply don’t like nuts by themselves, pair them with a serving of fruit or cheese, or use it as a topping for salads, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. When you’re at the grocery store, look for unsalted or lightly salted varieties if you are watching your sodium intake. Also beware of candied nuts or packaged trail mixes that are loaded with sugary ingredients.
Oats can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks. In addition, they help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which means you’ll have steady energy levels throughout the day. Luckily, oats are actually super easy to prepare!
If you like your oats cold, similar to cereal, make overnight oats! Before you go to bed, put some oatmeal in a portable container and fill it with water or a milk of your choice. Add other ingredients if you wish, such as nuts, fruit, cinnamon, or protein powder, and let it soak overnight. When you wake up, it’ll be ready to go without any extra time or effort!
If you like your oats hot, put all your oats and optional toppings in a container to bring to work. When you’re hungry, simply add water/milk and heat it up in the microwave.
Try to buy plain oats, rather than packaged flavored varieties, because they usually contain unnecessary added sugars. You can flavor it yourself with ingredients such as fruit, spices, or vanilla extract. If you love thick, creamy consistencies, Greek yogurt makes a great addition that comes with a boost of protein. You can also add chia seeds for some extra Omega-3s and fiber, while having little effect on flavor.
Popcorn can be a very nutritious snack full of fiber and protein, but the extent of its healthiness depends on how it’s made. Packaged microwave popcorn tends to contain trans fats and other harmful chemicals, so opt for air-popped popcorn instead. You can flavor it however you like with various seasonings, spices, and toppings, such as sea salt, cinnamon, chili powder, dark chocolate, or nuts. Additionally, popcorn kernels are very affordable and you can make them on the stove or in the microwave, with or without oil/butter.
Greek yogurt makes a delicious, high-protein snack. It is also full of gut-friendly probiotics that aid digestion. However, some varieties in the grocery store are healthier options than others. Look for unsweetened or unflavored kinds, as these do not contain a lot of unnecessary sugars. To add flavor, you can add fruit, spices, nuts, or even protein powder. As a bonus, Greek yogurt requires little to no preparation depending on how many toppings you add; just store a tub of plain yogurt in the fridge and mix in toppings just before eating.
Fruit and Veggies
This one seems obvious, but most varieties really are easy to prepare and undoubtedly good for you!
Some fruits even come with their own natural packaging: their peels! With whole fruits like bananas, avocados, or oranges, you don’t have to worry about things like containers or ziplock bags. It’s quick and easy to just grab it on your way out if you’re in a rush.
You can eat fruit by themselves, which make a perfectly healthy and filling snack, or add them as toppings to other meals, like oatmeal or salads. Fruits and veggies can also be eaten with nutritious dips like hummus or nut butters for a boost of protein, healthy fats, and delicious flavor.