Don't Let Munchies Gobble Your Budget
Healthy, Inexpensive Snacks
Can you give us some great snack foods for those that just want to lose weight and are easy and inexpensive?
How about fresh fruit and vegetables? Or dried fruits? I often make trail mix with raisins, raw unsalted almonds, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and small pretzels. Also, yogurt, homemade (and whole grain) muffins/cookies or popcorn. There are many low fat snacks out there, but it just takes some creativity and some time to make treats from scratch. It's a lot cheaper, too!
Make sure snacks are healthy and above all low fat. Fat carries more calories per gram than other foods and is very prevalent in snack food choices. Avoid overly salty snacks, as the excess salt is very unhealthy. Look for foods high in fiber, water and bulk and low in fat, sugar and salt. Foods that are high in fiber and bulk will leave you feeling fuller. If you have chosen healthy, low fat, low sugar snacks, you can eat as much as you want without feeling guilty.
Try to make your snacks from scratch. You will know the ingredients, they will be healthier, and they will be cheaper. I recommend popcorn from a hot air popper or done in the microwave (not packaged microwave popcorn as these have lots of fat). Top it with butter flavored sprinkles such as Molly McButter or Butter Buds. You can also get some great fat free flavored powders, but these are kind of high in sodium.
Pretzels are good except they can be salty. Veggies are good. Cut up large quantities and store them ready to snack on. If you feel you need a dip, there are numerous fat free dip recipes on the Internet using fat free yogurt, low fat silken tofu or fat free mayonnaise. There are so many ideas out there. Try a web search on "low calorie snack" or "low fat snack" or "fat free snack"
Cut a medium sized apple in half. Put one half in a bag in the refrigerator for another day. Cut out the core of the apple and throw it away. Cut up the rest of the apple into small pieces and put in bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of low calorie vanilla yogurt. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Add four chopped walnut halves and stir together. This makes a healthy, quick snack!
An idea for snacks is to think of cereal as being more than just breakfast food. You can purchase low fat cereals and package them into smaller portions. One box of cereal can make many, many servings. You can even add a few raisins or nuts to jazz it up a bit if the cereal is plain.
I make "Skinny Shakes". There is a basic recipe and many variations. The basic recipe is in approximation. Dump this all in your blender:
Then whiz until smooth and start dropping ice cubes into the mixture, one or two at a time. Keep adding the ice cubes until your shake is as thick as desired.
Delicious! For a variation, add fresh or frozen strawberries, chocolate syrup to taste, crushed pineapple, or a fresh peach. The possibilities are endless. Always include the banana. It makes the shake smooth and creamy.
For me, convenience is the most important factor in low-cal snacking. If my healthy, low-cal snacks require preparation or fussing before I can eat them, I'm likely to reach for the easier high-cal stuff instead.
I usually crave crunchy snacks, so I keep a bag of baby carrots in my fridge to take the place of potato chips. They make a pre-washed, peeled, crunchy finger food that's good for you. For me, they're a better snack choice than carrot sticks that I have to cut up. If I run out of the sticks, it is back to the easy high-cal snack foods. If you prefer other fresh veggies, then always have some cut up in the refrigerator. Keep grapes on hand (another crispy finger food) as well as apples and other fruits. Wash them as soon as you bring them into the house so they're ready to just grab and eat when the urge hits.
Try baked potato chips rather than regular ones, as well as some breakfast cereals. Keep sugar-free pudding or Jell-O (even better) prepared in individual servings in the refrigerator. Learn to make your own smoothies in the blender using low-fat yogurt, fat-free milk, cut-up fruit and wheat germ. I keep cut-up fruit in my freezer for this purpose. I hope these ideas help.
Buy a can of garbanzo beans and rinse them off and lay them out until they no longer drip. Put them in a gallon resealable bag along with garlic powder, parsley or any combination of favorite spices. Shake them up until fully coated. Put a brown bag on a cooking sheet and put your beans into an oven set for 150 until dry. Put into a tight container and they're healthier and better tasting than cornnuts.
Here are some low-calorie ideas from Weight Watchers meetings:
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