Healthy snacks to keep around during the holidays
Eating well is a challenge any time of the year, but it becomes increasingly difficult around the holidays. With coworkers bringing in homebaked treats, holiday parties every weekend, and coffeehouses doling out festive beverages that are loaded with sugar, it’s no mystery why most people gain some weight around the holidays. But if you have light, healthy snacks on hand, you won’t have to be among them. Here are a few to keep stocked in your kitchen this holiday season.
- Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts. When you’re craving something sweet, yogurt is an excellent option. Just be wary of any yogurts that are loaded in sugar; it’s easy to venture into ice cream territory. Opt for plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, which are both high in protein and contain modest amounts of mostly natural sugar (lactose). Add your own flair by dropping in some fresh berries or other fruit and a few nuts for crunch.
- Apples and peanut butter. Apples and peanut butter make the perfect pair, a tasty balance of sweet and salty. And since apples are in season through late autumn, you should have your pick of eclectic varieties at the store. Opt for a sweet, tart, and crisp apple, like a Pink Lady or a Honeycrisp. Pair it with the natural peanut butter, almond butter, or other nut or seed butter of your choice for a quick and satisfying snack.
- Hummus with whole grain crackers. If you’re the type of person who likes snacks that involve dipping, then you know it’s really easy to go overboard with fatty, calorie-laden dips. That’s why hummus is such a great alternative. It does contain fat, but it’s a healthy type of fat, and most of the dip consists of fiber-rich chickpeas (a type of white bean). Pair healthy whole-grain crackers or veggies with hummus for a midday snack that will help keep you away from the cheese and crackers at a holiday party later.
- Dried fruits and nuts. Dried fruits and nuts allow you to indulge a bit without going overboard. Nuts bring a salty crunch, while dried fruits add some natural sugar. Make your own trail mix or purchase a blend of dried fruits and nuts to keep on hand when you know healthy snacks are not going to be an option at the office party. Since nuts contain ample amounts of healthy fats and protein, they’ll help keep you full. There’s one caveat, though. This is a high-calorie snack, so ensure that you only eat one handful (about ¼ cup) in order to avoid overdoing it on calories.
- Lightened-up treats. It is the holiday season, so it wouldn’t be right to totally deprive yourself of the things you love! But consider lightening them up a bit. Cut down the sugar in your favorite cookies, or throw some whole-grain oatmeal in the food processor and sub the resulting powder in for flour. If you really want to enhance the nutritional value of your holiday sweets, you can even opt for a totally new type of treat: black bean brownies (Pinterest has plenty of recipes).