So I've been trying to eat healthy for a few months now, and I'm now 32lbs lighter than I was at the start of my journey. I've also managed to make it through the festive period without gaining any extra pounds thanks to careful snacking. I initially started off only eating three square meals a day, but I've found that going without snacks altogether actually has a negative impact on my weight loss, so I started eating low-calorie but filling snacks between meals, and since then I've seen the pounds starting to fall away!
I thought I'd share a list of my favourite snacks in the hope that it might help other people who are looking for healthier options to tackle the munchies.
1) Smoothies - my best buy at the start of my journey was my MagiMax blender. The top draw of my freezer is full of little sandwich bags containing sliced banana and berries or other frozen fruits. A splash of fruit juice, a spoon of fat-free yoghurt or almond milk and one of those little bags will give me a refreshing and vitamin-packed snack at about 150cals.
2) Popcorn - You can buy the already-popped variety, but I often found these very calorific due to added flavours/fats and quite high in salt. Instead I take a heaped tablespoon of unpopped kernels, put them in a pan on medium heat with a tiny bit of coconut oil, and wait a couple of minutes for the magic to happen. This will give a generous bowlful of popcorn at only about 100cals. Afterwards I might add cinnamon, or a light drizzle of honey, or a very sparing amount of marmite, or nutritional yeast (a healthy sort of cheese flavouring you can buy at health shops), or sometimes as a treat a teaspoon of Nutella.
3) Banana ice cream - It tastes just as good as the real stuff, but with less than half the calories. I stick a couple of frozen bananas in my blender or food processor and blitz for 1 minute. I can flavour it with vanilla, mint, frozen berries (my favourite) or even carob/cacao powder to make chocolate ice cream with minimal sugar content. Very healthy snack that feels like an indulgent treat, works great as a dessert replacement too.
4) Toasted chickpeas - A great alternative to crisps or salted nuts when you're craving a savoury snack. Just get a can of chickpeas and drain/rinse them in a sieve. Then pat dry with some paper towels and pop them in a sandwich bag with a bit of coconut oil or a tiny bit of sunflower oil and give it a good shake to coat. Toss in some salt and peper, or paprika, or any other flavour or spice that you prefer (low sodium flavourings are pretty easy to come by these days) and give it another shake. Put it on a baking tray lined with baking paper and toast in the oven at 210 degrees for about 35-40 minutes then allow to sit for 5. A great, crunchy snack! They also store well once cooled, you can keep them in a tupperware box for several days and they'll taste just as good!
5) Celery/carrot sticks and dip - I often go for this as my morning snack when I'm at home. Hummus is my favourite dip, but there are loads of options. Just be careful to look at the back of the packet, because some can be as unhealthy as mayonnaise!
6) Snack a Jacks - For when you don't want to have to make something from scratch, these rice cakes a great healthy alternative. They come in all sorts of flavours, and you can buy savoury single-size snack packs to replace crisps or the 'Jumbo' size packs of large rice cakes, normally with sweet flavours. The chocolate chip flavour, which I have as a treat when I want something sweet, is only 62cals per jumbo rice cake! And two of those, at 124cals, feels a lot more filling than a bag of crisps might.
Of course there's always fruits or chopped veggies as a good snack option, but those are some of my personal favourites. I'd love to hear if anyone else has any snack ideas/recipes to share!