Ideal snack should be a meal balanced with all elementary nutrients, such as complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Morning snack should provide 15 % of daily energy intake. Wholegrain bread packed with carbohydrates and fibre is therefore a good base for a morning snack. White bread contains fewer nutrients and will not sustain for a long time. Fruit and vegetables are another good source of fibre. Forget about salami and sausages and think turkey or ham with at least 90 % of quality meat content. Afternoon snack shall provide 10 % of daily energetic intake and boost the energy for any sport activities. A good snack is low GI (Glycemix index) and easy to digest. A biscuit or a sweet bar give an energy kick, but don’t last for long. They represent simple carbohydrates that are quickly digested, releasing sugar rapidly into the blood stream, causing insulin spikes that lead to energy highs and crashing lows – which makes you feel hungry and want to eat sugar again.
Here are several tips for balanced, light and nutritious snacks:
1. Hummus + carrot sticks
Grab either hummus sold in single-serving packages 2-ounce (50 grams) or prepare it at home. Then slice up some juicy, vitamin packed, carrots. You can alternate carrots with red pepper, celery sticks, cucumber or cherry tomatoes. For a homemade hummus, mix 300 g canned chickpeas, juice of ½ lemon and 2 tablespoons tahini mix in a blender until smooth. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste.
2. Apple + all natural almond butter
This snack is the perfect mix of sweet, savoury, and protein. Simply cut up one apple and then dip in unsweetened almond butter. One serving of almond butter is approximately 2 tablespoons and works out to about 7 grams of protein.
3. Cottage Cheese + Fresh Fruit
Put 1 cup of fresh strawberries with about 10 grapes and combine with 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese. The strawberries are loaded with more vitamin C than an orange and naturally low in sugar so they won’t cause a blood sugar spike. Grapes are a satisfying and delicious snack that provides antioxidants. The cottage cheese is rich in protein to give you energy for only around 100 calories.
4. Pita Pocket Tuna + vegetables
Use a seal-pack tuna in water and a half of whole-wheat pita bread. Spread the tuna into the pocket and you have a power-protein mini meal for just 70 to 80 calories. The whole-wheat pita provides fibre and carbs for energy. Tuna is delicious also on light rye or multigrain Wasa crisp crackers. Add a piece of vegetable to make your snack juicier a vitamin packed.
5. Greek Yogurt + Fresh Fruit
Combine plain low-fat Greek yogurt with ¼ cup of unsweetened dry whole oats, nuts, and wheat flake mix. A serving of yogurt helps you get calcium, the oats and muesli contain fibre, and the nuts provide additional protein. Make the snack versatile by alternating various nuts and adding cinnamon and fresh berries.
6. Almonds + Fresh Fruit
Almonds are synonymous with a healthy diet, because an ounce serving of almonds provides about 6 grams of protein. Same as with all other seeds and nuts, soak them in water overnight and then dry them in the oven on a very low heat or roast them on a dry pan without adding salt or sugar. Add a piece of fruit such as an apple or berries and you’ll have one of the healthiest snacks.
7. Hard-boiled eggs + vegetable
Hard-boiled eggs are an easy snack to take on the go, add only 85 calories while solid 7 grams of protein. Egg whites might be the staple of a healthy diet, but don't get rid of the yolks. The yellow part of the eggs tastes good and also boasts a fat-fighting ingredient known as choline. Add any veggies you like since it never hurts to get more in.
8. Ricotta spread + crisp bread
Mix 100 g ricotta, one grated juicy carrot and a handful of raisins. Spread on whole-wheat or rye crisp bread.
9. Mini cheese + grapes
Single portion of cheese such as Mini Babybel are great because they're individually wrapped for easy toss-in-your-purse portability. Add a piece of fruit or vegetable and you will get proteins, energy and vitamins for the afternoon.
10. Kefir + banana smoothie
One cup of kefir is bursting with three times the probiotics of yogurt, a quarter of your daily need for vitamin D, and 11 grams of protein. Bonus: probiotics have been associated with weight loss. Kefir is also 99 % lactose-free, so it can be an option even if you have trouble digesting traditional dairy products. Mix it with a ripe banana for a vitamin packed snack on-the-go.