Balanced snacks are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. They offer the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. This combination provides energy, decreases hunger, and keeps your metabolism running at full speed.
We created simple guidelines for creating balanced snacks and ideas to get you started.
Here are 17 healthy, weight-loss-friendly snacks to add to your diet.
Balanced Snack Ideas
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Celery sticks with hummus
- Pineapple chunks with cottage cheese
- Orange slices with mixed nuts
- Pear slices with string cheese
- Mixed berries with greek yogurt
- Avocado with tomato and low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Hard-boiled egg with zucchini sticks
- Healthy beef jerky with apple slices
- Canned salmon with edamame
- Whole grain toast topped with turkey breast and avocado
- Red bell pepper with guacamole
- Dark chocolate and almonds
- Natural peanut butter with celery sticks
- Sugar snap peas with ricotta cheese
- Dried fruit with sunflower seeds
- Sugar-free beef jerky with cheddar cheese slices
What To Look For in a Balanced Snack
A perfect balanced snack features healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates with minimal artificial ingredients and added sugar. The right blend of macronutrients will keep you full and fueled for your active lifestyle. Try to pick equal parts from each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate, fat).
Protein + Carbohydrates + Healthy Fats = Balanced Snack
Protein is the building blocks of muscle and the building block of a balanced snack. It is a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen through your body. The key with protein is to find a lean protein with low saturated fat.
Examples: Lean meats, seafood, 2% cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, eggs
The key to carbohydrates are low-sugar carbs which are low-glycemic and slow metabolizing. The more natural the carbohydrate the better—whole grains and whole-grain flours instead of white and refined flours. You also want to focus on carbs that add fiber.
Examples: fruits, vegetables, whole grains
Healthy fats play a huge role in a healthy lifestyle. The most important thing when it comes to healthy fats and snacks is that fat helps keep us full and serves as a reserve of energy storage. They can also improve the absorption of essential nutrients.
Examples: nuts, avocado, olives
Benefits of Balanced Snacks
The addition of nutritious, heart-healthy snacks to a healthy diet can be a great way to address high blood pressure. Nuts, citrus fruits, and fatty fish have all been shown to lower blood pressure. Working these types of foods into your balanced snacks may lower blood pressure.
Healthy balanced snacks can also keep your blood sugar stable. Blood sugar spikes occur when blood sugar rises and falls quickly after you eat. This can cause sluggishness and hunger pains.
Balanced snacks can also help you lose weight. You might be curious if it’s possible to lose weight while not giving up snacks and the answer is yes. Healthy, balanced snacks will keep you full throughout the day and limit your desire for unhealthy foods.
Final Tips on Balanced Snacks
- Keep snacks small. No need to keep track of your snacks down to the calorie (unless you want to). It’s more important to maintain moderation when it comes to snacking. The goal is keep yourself fueled without being too full. Shoot for 100 to 200 calories per snack.
- Listen to your body. Don’t just reach for a snack because it’s “snack time.” If you feel hungry and need energy, grab a snack. Not sure if you’re truly hungry? Drink a glass of water and wait a few minutes.
- Focus on whole foods. When your next craving hits, reach for whole foods instead of highly-processed, artificial snacks.
- Prepare. Half the battle of eating healthy is preparation. Put yourself in a place to be successful by preparing healthy, well-balanced snacks.
Beef Jerky is Your Secret Weapon for a Balanced Snack
All-natural beef jerky is loaded with lean protein. It can easily be added to a healthy snack to get that much needed kick of protein. When it comes to healthy weight loss, beef jerky will keep you full, fueled and ready to go!