3 Healthy Snack Makeovers

It’s 3:00 p.m., and your energy is dipping, as are your eyelids. You’re thinking about raiding the vending machine, and

It’s 3:00 p.m., and your energy is dipping, as are your eyelids. You’re thinking about raiding the vending machine, and your resolve is weakening. The good news: Snacking is good for you because going too long without eating sets you up for a huge blood sugar dip that could wreck your Magic eating for the rest of the day. The bad news: Most of the snacks in the vending machine are rotten choices.

Our Top Three Snacking Guidelines

1. Pack your snack with your lunch. It’s easy enough to grab some carrot or celery sticks, some grapes or grape tomatoes, a container of yogurt, or some nuts and stick them in your “lunchbox.”

2. Stay away from chips and go easy on pretzels, which are not much more than white flour, with barely any protein to balance it out.

3. Seek out protein. Peanut butter, nuts, yogurt, and even a hard-boiled egg are good snack sources.

Snack Makeover #1

Regular Snack
2 ounces (60 g) pretzels
Total GL: 33
Total calories: 216

Magic Snack
3/4 ounce (20 g) pretzels
1/2 green apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
Total GL: 14
Total calories: 208

The Fixes
Decreased the number of pretzels by more than half to limit refined carbs.
Beefed up the snack with a filling piece of fruit and some peanut butter for blood sugar “staying power.” This snack will help you stay full longer than if you ate just the pretzels.

Snack Makeover #2

Regular Snack
1 berry cereal bar
Total GL: 26
Total calories: 140

Magic Snack
14 ounces (125 ml) low-fat mixed-berry yogurt topped with 2 tablespoons All Bran cereal
Total GL: 9
Total calories: 148

The Fixes
Substituted yogurt for the cereal bar to slash the GL. Because these bars contain cereal, we often assume they’re good for us, but they’re often lower in fiber and higher in sugar than their cereal counterparts.
Added All Bran cereal on top for crunch and a bit of whole grain.

Snack Makeover #3

Regular Snack
15 plain salted crackers
3 ounces (85 g) cheddar cheese
Total GL: 22
Total calories: 624

Magic Snack
6 whole wheat crackers
1 ounce (30 g) Swiss cheese
1 small pear
Total GL: 13
Total calories: 299

The Fixes
Switched to whole wheat crackers and cut the portion by more than half to decrease the GL.
Limited the cheese to decrease saturated fat. Cheese is indeed a Magic food, but you need to eat it in moderation.
Added a piece of fruit to add back some calories. Because of its fiber and water, the pear will fill you up more than the crackers.

Snack Makeover #4

Regular Snack
1 chocolate chip granola bar
Total GL: 14
Total calories: 163

Magic Snack
1 cup light popcorn mixed with 10 peanuts and 1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
Total GL: 8
Total calories: 160

The Fixes
Swapped the granola bar, filled with added sugar, for popcorn (a whole grain, high-fiber food) to lower the GL.
Added peanuts for a sugar-stabilizing dose of protein and “good” fats that will help you stay fuller longer.
Threw in some chocolate chips to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Snack Makeover #5

Regular Snack
14 jelly beans
Total GL: 27
Total calories: 150

Magic Snack
15 dry-roasted peanuts
Total GL: 1
Total calories: 84

The Fix
Slashed the GL to almost nothing by substituting peanuts, which are satisfying and full of protein, fiber, and healthy fat, for jelly beans, full of nothing but blood sugar-raising sugar.

Popular Videos

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest