When a sudden craving strikes, especially during Winter, things can get out of control. Maybe it’s seasonal blues, the long winter nights, the holiday season that makes us crave this much comfort food – in the end, we just pack on the weight. If you are looking for snacks to keep your tummy full and body warm on these cold stormy nights, here is a list of 10 healthy snacks to curb your winter beast appetite.
Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds, oatmeal is an excellent swap for your regular breakfast cereals. Whether it’s steel-cut, rolled, instant, raw, or groat, the sky is your limit when it comes to snacking on oatmeal. With a bit of creativity, you can make oats sweet or savory, and you can choose to cook them, bake them, or eat them raw. A bowl of morning oats with a spoonful of honey, a dash of cinnamon, topped with chopped bananas, nuts, seeds, or cooked with a soft-boiled egg and avocado will surely take your morning breakfast to the next level.
When craving this salty taste and satisfying crunch we get from chips, opt for a bowl of popcorn instead. Popcorn is whole grain, making it a perfect and healthy snack swap, loaded with lots of fiber and antioxidants. Air-popped popcorn with a little bit of salt is a fairly low-calorie snack that will curb your cravings and keep you full, fueled, and satisfied. When integrating flavors rich in sugar or fat like caramel, chocolate, butter or cheese, popcorn shifts to becoming an unhealthy snack. That’s why we need to be mindful of our popcorn intake to not risk weight gain.
3- Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has gained a lot of popularity around the world over the past few years as a healthier alternative to other yogurts, with a rich source of calcium and protein. Greek yogurt contains live strains of probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeast that do wonders to your digestive system and keep your gut healthy. Blended with fresh or frozen fruits, mixed with oats and honey, or used as a spread on crackers and bread instead of butter; there are numerous and inventive ways to eat Greek yogurt and enjoy its heavenly texture and benefits, especially for those who find it a bit bland for their taste.
Vegetables are nutritious, filling, and make a perfect snack that curbs your hunger between meals. While many prefer eating their vegetables raw or pairing them with some cheese, dipping them into scrumptious dips like avocado Greek yogurt ranch or garlic and veggie dip, others like to spruce their veggies up by grilling, sautéing, stuffing, or roasting them and infusing them with mouth-watering herbs.
5- Fresh juice
For those looking for lighter and filling snack replacements, a freshly squeezed cup of juice or a smoothie blend can do the trick. Blend your favorite fruits with some greens like kale, spinach, or arugula – for a healthy dosage of antioxidants and iron – then add your choice of milk or yogurt, and a spoonful of honey to make the smoothie even tastier. We tend to leave wholesome parts of the fruits behind, like the skin of an apple, or the seeds in raspberries that hold most of the fiber and nutrients like antioxidants, and minerals. That’s why we recommend eating fresh fruits instead of drinking them.
Nuts are filled with plenty of fibers, nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nuts reduce inflammation, promote healthy aging, and are beneficial for Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Raw nuts contain less sodium and calories but are harder for your stomach to digest for their shells, while roasted nuts are easier to digest and tastier than raw ones, but they have a higher salt intake. Whichever you like to eat, be mindful of your nuts’ portion intake to avoid weight gain.
7- Frozen fruits
Good News! Research shows that frozen fruits have as many vitamins as fresh ones. From popsicles, ice cream, fruits dipped in melted chocolate, and sorbets, now you can enjoy the tasty flavor of your preferred fruits and create a mouth-watering snack that every adult and kid will enjoy.
8- Dark chocolate
With this tasty snack, you won’t only satisfy your sweet tooth and your cravings for something crunchy to munch on, but you’ll also enjoy tons of healthy benefits. Eating dark chocolate is believed to help lower blood sugar levels, improve fat metabolism, and increase energy. Its moderate fiber content makes it an excellent midday snack to fuel on. Even though dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate, it still contains sugar and fat. That’s why we recommend eating no more than 1 ounce (28 grams) of dark chocolate a day.
9- Rice cakes
Even though they are low on nutritional values, unlike the rest of the list, their crunch is very satisfying, and their calories count is almost negligible. Plain rice cakes are an excellent swap for bread, top it with your favorite savory spread and enjoy a quick and flavorsome snack. When craving something sweet, you can even top them with nut butter alongside some blueberries, strawberries, or bananas. If you are in a hurry and looking for a snack on the go, flavored rice cakes like apple cinnamon, caramel corn, or buttered popcorn are also available for you to munch on.
Saving the best for last, let’s not forget the best comfort food for winter, soup! Soup is perfect as a meal or a midday snack that is easy to prepare and always ready to be savored. No matter how many servings you take, there is nothing better than a bowl of hearty mushroom soup, veggie soup, or sweet potato and pumpkin soup to warm your body and heart on cold Winter nights.