Stop the Craving: 24 Healthy Snack Ideas

Salty, crunchy, sweet, creamy: For every craving that attacks between meals, we've come up with healthy snacks that satisfy.

from Reverse Diabetes Fall 2012

Study shows: Taking on one kind of craving at a time may help you eat less.

Who knew: If you approach one craving at a time (salty, sweet, crunch, creamy), you're less likely to overeat. That's because we tend to take in more when we taste different flavors, compared to when we have a single one. So processed foods, which tend to combine lots of flavors (like sugar and salt) or textures, are essentially priming your brain to pig out. Our advice? Stick to healthy snacks that are about 100 to 200 calories with 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, like the options on the next pages.

Healthy Snacks for a Salty Craving

1. Cheesy kale chips Tear kale leaves into large pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil and bake in a 350°F oven until crisp. While still warm, sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

2. Tamari-seasoned rice crackers
A salt lover’s best choice for scooping up low-fat tuna salad or another healthy dip; punch them up with a squeeze of chili sauce. (Read the label to make sure you stick to one serving of crackers.

3. Mediterranean artichoke hearts
Drain canned artichoke hearts and sprinkle with lemon zest, capers, chopped fresh basil, and olive oil.

Healthy Snacks for a Salty Craving

4. Five-spice pumpkin seeds
 Toss salted pumpkin seeds with sesame oil and Chinese five-spice powder; bake at 350°F until crisp.

5. Buffalo popcorn
 Toss air-popped popcorn with olive oil, chili powder, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

6. Spicy wheat pretzels

Whole wheat pretzels (which boast 4 grams of fiber compared with 1 gram in the regular kind) become irresistible when slathered with spicy mustard (only 5 calories per teaspoon). Add a couple of low-fat cheese cubes to make this snack extra filling.

Healthy Snacks for a Crunchy Craving

7. Chickpea poppers Drain and rinse canned chickpeas, then dry them with a paper towel. Spritz with extra-virgin olive oil, season with dried oregano and garlic salt, and roast at 400°F until crisp.

8. Veggie chips with tangy yogurt Dunk root veggie chips (such as Terra chips) into plain low-fat yogurt seasoned with hot sauce and orange zest.

9. Cheesy dip Dunk sugar snap peas into 1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese.

Healthy Snacks for a Crunchy Craving

10. Easy salsa Chop up tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, beans, and onions in a mini food processor, then scoop on melba toast.

11. Tangy pear boats Fill endive spears with chopped pears and season with a dash of balsamic vinegar. Add 12 almonds for extra crunch and some heart-healthy unsaturated fat.

12. Veggie yogurt dip Combine finely chopped broccoli, multicolored bell peppers, and scallions with fat-free Greek yogurt and onion flakes. Use it as a dip for baby carrots.

Healthy Snacks for a Sweet Craving

13. Fruity cottage cheese Fold chopped ripe nectarines into low-fat cottage cheese, and spoon onto a couple of gingersnaps. (Read the label to make sure you stick to a single serving of gingersnaps.)

14. Chocolaty pears
Minimalist, yet amazingly delicious: Sprinkle cocoa nibs on canned pears.

15. Sweet yogurt dip Stir a little diet maple syrup or agave nectar into fat-free Greek yogurt, and dunk slices of apples or pears.

Dorling Kindersley RF/Thinkstock

Healthy Snacks for a Sweet Craving

16. Fruit kebabs Spear the sweetest fruits—strawberries, mango, grapes, and pineapple—with bamboo skewers.

17. “Banana cream pie”
Spread graham crackers with vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt, then top with a handful of banana slices and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed. (Read the label to make sure you stick to one serving of graham crackers.)

18. Grapefruit brûlée
Transform a simple grapefruit into something decadent: Halve it; drizzle each half with a little dark honey (use concentrated sweets sparingly), and broil until bubbly.

Healthy Snacks for a Creamy Craving

19. Easy mashed sweet potato Microwave a small sweet potato, split it open, and mash a little OJ and cinnamon into it. Eat it right out of the jacket.

20. White bean dip Mash canned white beans with olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary. Pile onto radicchio or lettuce leaves.

21. Creamy pita
Spread baba ghanoush, crushed avocado, or hummus on a whole wheat pita or whole wheat English muffin.

Healthy Snacks for a Creamy Craving

22. Soft-scrambled egg It’s the most sublimely simple protein-packed treat.

23. Spicy potatoes Baby red potatoes become blissfully soft when you microwave them for 3 to 5 minutes (leave the skin on for its nutrients). Sprinkle with pepper and dried seasonings. Add a pat of Greek yogurt for a healthy sour cream replacement.

24. Italian antipasto Raid the supermarket antipasto bar for some lusciously creamy slow-roasted red peppers. Pat the oil off with a paper towel, and eat with a mini bocconcini or two. Delizioso!

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