We all get cravings for snacks, and most of the time we pop open the fridge or cupboards looking for the easiest food item to grab. The next time you get the munchies, take a few extra minutes to make something healthy, yet tasty. Here are some easy and frugal healthy snack ideas to make in moments or to prepare and keep on hand for when the munchie monster rears its head.
A bowl of popcorn will always satisfy the biggest cravings. It only takes a few minutes in the microwave to produce a perfect bowl of popcorn. But, be sure to watch out for very sugary or salty products. Choose the simplest popcorn you can find, then add the ingredients you can grab quickly that are still the healthiest. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, Cajun seasoning, pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, or even a touch of brown sugar will result in a healthier version than the pre-flavored variety. It’s quick, easy, and still on the healthier side.
Eating a handful of celery sticks is not exactly what we crave for a snack late at night, is it. Again, it’s about taking a quick snack and making it delicious without destroying your diet in the process. Keep a bag of fresh, ready-to-eat vegetables in your refrigerator. The fun part comes with creating and pairing some exciting, but still healthier, dips. For some unusual choices, try smashing capers into cream cheese and filling celery sticks, or mix coarse ground mustard into Greek yogurt for a spicy dip for carrots or broccoli. Put a variety of herbs into a food processor along with Parmesan cheese, yogurt, or cream cheese. Black beans and salsa blended together makes an incredibly flavorful dip for a variety of veggies. Experiment until you create a nice selection of dips to keep your midnight snacking interesting, and healthy.
Cheese and Crackers
The old stand-by–this is actually a favorite at any time, but because of the ease of putting this snack together, we can put it in the easy category. Read the labels when you buy to find cheeses that are healthier, but still delicious. Cream cheese, string cheese, and even processed cheese can satisfy your snacking needs easily while staying healthy. Also stock up on good, multi-grain and whole wheat crackers. A refrigerator full of a variety of cheeses and a cupboard full of boxes of good crackers will produce a healthy snack in minutes.
There aren’t too many things that satisfy a sweet tooth without being a bad choice for a diet. Instead of digging into that bag of cookies or candy, try a sweet treat that is not loaded with calories and fat. A gelatin treat satisfies a sweet tooth without guilt (most are 10 calories or less per serving). Keep a big bowl of Jell-O or Jiggler snacks in the refrigerator and enjoy. Look for a variety of flavors and recipes to create new gelatin treats so you’ll never get bored and will be able to satisfy your sweet tooth on the spot.
Apple Slices and Dip
You can keep apples handy at all times and just bite into them for a healthy, super-quick snack. Or, you can perk up this humble treat to satisfy your cravings even better. Enjoy this snack in a variety of ways, including spreading peanut butter on each slice, adding a dash of cinnamon to add a new level of flavor, or eat with yogurt or caramel dip. A surprisingly delicious and healthy snack that you might not think about right away is apples with cheese. A slice of apple topped with a sliver of good Cheddar cheese is a delight that will satisfy your snacking cravings on several levels. The crunchy sweetness of the apple pairs with the satisfying fat and saltiness of the cheese to make this a healthy snack idea.
Sometimes it is the simple foods that produce the best results. Easy and frugal healthy snack ideas are many, these are just a few to get you started. Enjoy.