Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean depriving your growling stomach from snacks. Keep gnawing hunger at bay and boost your immunity and health with simple snack swaps. Tame your munchies. Try these ideas the next time a craving barks at you to devour dessert or maow down on junk food between meals:
4 Healthy Alternatives to Your Favorite Snacks
If you want something quick and crunchy, try popping popcorn in flavored oil instead of reaching for chips. Chili infused olive oil is easy to make. Cut the stems off dried or fresh chilis. Put them in a bottle of olive oil and let it steep for a couple of weeks. The capsaicin that gives the popcorn a kick will also reduce your urge to add salt and provide potential health benefits, like pain relief.
If you’re feeling ambitious, try making your own veggie chips so you can control salt and oil content. From sweet potato to beet chips, Prevention has several recipes here to explore.
2) Soda/Sports Drinks
If you find soda satisfying, stock up on seltzer water or mineral water. You can have your fizz and flavor too by adding a squeeze of citrus or just a little fresh fruit juice.
Keep in mind that sports drinks are not necessarily healthy! Many have high amounts of sugar, chemical sweeteners and artificial additives. Keep electrolytes in balance and get some vitamin C, minerals and calcium by sipping coconut water. Adding a splash of fruit juice can make it a treat after a serious sweat session, or just anytime you want an interesting cold drink.
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3) Ice Cream
The easiest thing to do here is to whip up a quick smoothie when it’s ice cream you crave. The nice thing about smoothies is that they can be made with frozen fruit (and vegetables) you have on hand and include any sort of yogurt, dairy or milk substitute you keep in the fridge. They can quench your yen for something creamy on your tongue. But, the real bonus is that you won’t have a quart of ice cream sitting in your freezer, calling your name at midnight.
A little bit more involved, but still an easy ice cream substitute is homemade sorbet. No ice cream maker is needed. Explore a handful of recipes here that use just a stove top, freezer and a blender.
4) Shakes…even the Pre-packaged “healthy” ones
Speaking of cold concoctions, if you’re hooked on shakes as snacks, consider the fact that plain old milk is one of the best beverages to consume after a tough workout or if you’re feeling a little hungry between meals. You don’t necessarily need all the added calories and sugars from a shake. Mixing a little honey into your milk can satisfy some cravings, prevent your blood sugar from spiking and feed your need for protein. If you still like the idea of reaching for a pre-packaged shake or powder when you’re in-between meals, check out this list from Eat This, Not That to find out if your go-to treat is healthy!