Heart-Healthy Snacking: 15 Easy, Creative, Tasty Snack Ideas

Most of us like to snack at least occasionally. The trouble is that we often snack too much and eat too many of the wrong kinds of foods when we snack, and this can of course lead to weight gain and unacceptable cholesterol levels. In addition, unhealthy snacks crowd out healthy food so that we become well-fed but undernourished.

The trick is to snack on real food not the packaged junk food that you can buy in the store or vending machines such as most microwave popcorn, cold cereal, chips, cookies, pretzels, candy bars, energy bars, yogurt with sugary fruit, etc. If snacking is done in moderation and you eat healthful foods when you snack, it can be a great way to boost energy, satisfy hunger, lose weight and tantalize your taste buds!

One of the reasons healthy snacking is thought to be good for you is that it can help balance blood sugar levels throughout the day. When blood sugar levels are stable, you are more likely to have stable energy levels and fewer mood swings. In addition, your body will need to produce insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels less frequently. When insulin is being produced, your body goes into fat storage mode versus fat burning mode and this can possibly contribute to weight gain and difficulties losing weight so keeping your insulin levels stable is very important.

Be sure if you do snack that you don’t eat more calories than your body needs for the day. One way to ensure you don’t eat too much is to take something you would normally eat for lunch and save it for an afternoon snack. You can also tune into your body and pay attention to your hunger signals as long as your hunger signals are functioning properly. If you feel full, it is probably not a good idea to snack at that time. Drink some water or sip on some herbal tea instead.

If you have children who want to snack on unhealthy food remember that you are the adult, and you are the one in control of the shopping. As the adult, you need to set the example. Sure, they may complain but don’t give in. In the end, they will thank you and will even begin to like the healthier snacks. Try not to make the food topic into a stressful battle. Instead, involve your kids. Let them choose which healthy snacks they want to try, and get them to prepare the snacks together with you. Make it fun!

I worked with one extremely picky child once. She ate almost nothing else but dairy products, popcorn, and bacon. My job was to set up a fun, hands-on cooking class experience with her. She had a blast, and she tried all the things we cooked up so she could offer her expert opinion about each of the recipes. In the end, this very picky girl added blueberries and even kale (believe it or not) to her diet. What’s important to note here is this girl made the decision what she was going to eat, try, and like. I think that made all the difference.

So what are some tasty, interesting healthy snacks to try if you could use some snacking inspiration? Check out my snacking suggestions below!

1. Frozen green grapes

2. Re-heated leftover whole grain brown rice with raisins, cinnamon,
unsalted nuts, pinch of cardamom (optional), drizzle of maple syrup,
and non-dairy milk

3. Dried, unsulphured apricots with unsalted, raw pecans

4. “Seasnax” lightly roasted and seasoned seaweed

5. Leftover baked apples cold or re-heated

6. Hummus and raw vegetables like carrots, celery, peppers

7. Peanut butter on apple or even carrots

8. Plain Greek yogurt with a little raw honey

9. Guacamole over quinoa (this really is a tasty combo!)

10. Chunk of 70% dark chocolate with slivered almonds

11. Re-heated leftover butternut squash soup with toasted pumpkin seeds

12. Bean dip spread or a slice of turkey on whole grain crackers

13. Hard-boiled egg with mustard(tastes good chopped and mixed w/rice too)

14. Yogurt mixed with unsweetened cocoa, a few drops of stevia, and pecans

15. Smoothies or fresh vegetable juices like carrot, apple, ginger

Your action this week is to substitute one of your unhealthy snacks with one of the heart-healthy snacks listed above, and by all means enjoy your new taste treats!

If you need sure-fire tips on how to make the diet and lifestyle changes that will lower your cholesterol fast, check out the free audio “Top 3 Secrets to Lower Your Cholesterol Fast without Drugs or Drastic Dieting” mentioned below.