7 Nutritious snack swaps
You try to eat healthy, but sometimes you like a little treat between meals. Here are seven simple snack swaps that will boost your nutrition while satisfying your cravings.
Swap sugary yogurt for plain Greek yogurt
Yogurt is a nutritious snack, right? In many cases, that's simply not true. Check the nutrition label of your favorite flavored yogurt and see how many grams of sugar are lurking inside your creamy treat. Chances are, there are anywhere from 10-30 grams of sugar in a single serving. Switch to plain, nonfat Greek yogurt that's packed with protein — around 18 grams per serving. Sweeten with a natural sweetener such as agave or maple syrup and top with berries. Yum.
Swap a plain bagel with cream cheese for a whole grain bagel with ricotta cheese
Did you know that regular cream cheese is not part of the dairy food group? According to the USDA, cream cheese is high in saturated fat and has little or no calcium — thus its exclusion from the dairy club. Satisfy your urge for something creamy and delicious by swapping cream cheese for ricotta cheese. Trade out that plain bagel for a whole grain bagel. The higher protein and fiber will help you feel fuller longer.
Swap potato chips for popcorn
Potato chips may satisfy your craving for a salty, crunchy snack, but they're giving you nothing but empty calories — not to mention loads of fat. Try popping your own popcorn for a whole grain snack that's packed with fiber. To make your own microwave popcorn, pour plain popcorn kernels into a brown paper lunch bag and roll down the top of the bag to close. Pop in the microwave on high for about two minutes. Melt some butter in a small microwave-safe bowl, then pour over your popcorn and salt to taste.
Swap chocolate bars for fat-free chocolate pudding
Sometimes the chocolate urge simply must be met. Unfortunately chocolate bars are loaded with fat. Swap the candy bars for fat-free chocolate pudding snacks and enjoy cold creamy goodness — guilt-free! Eat your pudding slowly with a small spoon and savor every bite.
Swap store-bought granola bars for homemade oat bars
With all those television commercials showing super-fit beautiful hikers and rock climbers, you'd think store-bought granola bars were a healthy choice. Look past the marketing and take a good long look at the nutrition facts. You don't need all that sugar, not to mention a whole lot of unpronounceable ingredients! Find a recipe for homemade oat bars and sweeten them naturally with honey or pure maple syrup.
Swap banana bread for whole grain toast topped with peanut butter and banana
Banana bread is a great occasional treat, but if you're noshing on it with any regularity, you're consuming a whole lot of empty calories (sugar and fat!). Try toasting a slice of whole grain bread and topping it with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. Slice a half a banana and layer on top of the peanut butter. Finish with a drizzle of honey.
Swap soda for sparkling water and juice
Ditch the caffeine-loaded Diet Coke and treat your body to a healthier fizzy drink. Mix sparkling water or club soda with a splash of fruit juice for a bubbly, refreshing drink that's caffeine-free and significantly lower in sugar. If soda is your daily drink of choice, avoid headaches by gradually decreasing the amount of soda over several days instead of cutting the caffeine all at once.
Watch: Kid approved snack recipes
Whether it's after school, dance class or football practice, find a quick snack that's kid approved!