Balanced Snacks: 20 Healthy Meal Prep Snack Ideas
Adding balanced snacks into your eating routine can be a game-changer when trying to eat healthier.
The key is knowing when to eat them, pairing food with strategy, and being mindful of portions.
Let me show you how to incorporate snacks into your meal planning and give you some ideas to inspire you on your next grocery trip.
Balanced Snack Strategy
The strategy I teach my clients is to add a snack to their day when they go long hours (4+ hours) without eating.
For example, if you eat lunch at 12pm and don’t eat dinner until 6pm, that’s 6 hours that you are going with our fueling your body!
Eating a snack around 3pm can prevent you from feeling too hungry at dinner, which can cause you to ignore your fullness cues and overeat.
Balanced Snack Formula
The super simple formula for making a balanced snack is to pair a carbohydrate (carb) with fat or protein.
Eating a carb with fat or protein allows for slower digestion and longer-lasting energy, keeping you full for a few hours compared to just 30-60 minutes if eaten alone.
Aim to choose whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins most of the time to nourish your body with healthy food choices.
20 Healthy Balanced Snacks
Here are 20 snack examples using the formula above to try.
Remember, a snack can have a carbohydrate, protein, and fat but eating at least two food groups makes the snack balanced.
Carbohydrate and Fat
- Toast and nut butter
- Trail mix with chocolate
- Avocado toast
- Fruit and peanut butter
- Veggies and ranch
- Fruit and cheese
- PB&J sandwich
- Nuts and fruit
- Chips and guacamole
- Graham crackers and peanut butter
Carbohydrate and Protein
- Yogurt and berries
- Hummus and pita chips
- Popcorn and string cheese
- Cereal and milk
- Hard-boiled egg with sliced fruit or veggies
- Yogurt and granola
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Hard-boiled egg and toast
- Turkey slices and crackers
- Small cheese quesadilla
Is Having a Snack Bad?
The goal of snacks is to keep you full and energized in-between meals while also curbing your cravings throughout the day.
There will be days when your snack may be eating a piece of chocolate, and occasionally, that is fine! What matters the most is what you are doing all the time.
If you find yourself eating meals and continuing to snack, there may be other areas of your nutrition that you can work on to understand why.
Check out my post on how to stop snacking to learn why you may be feeling hungry all the time.
Benefits of Balanced Snacks
So, what’s so great about snacks? Oh, let me tell you.
Curbing Cravings and Hunger
Eating a balanced snack keeps you feeling satisfied and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.
Feeling satisfied decreases food cravings and thoughts about food, making it less likely for you to overeat unhealthy and high-calorie foods when you are starving.
If you’re feeling tired, irritable, or unable to focus, your body may need some fuel.
Snacks ultimately give you energy, so add in a small snack to give yourself a boost to keep you going and improve your mood.
Increases Vitamin and Mineral Intake
Adding snacks into your day allows you more opportunities to consume more vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Adding nourishing foods like fruits, veggies, or nuts to your snacks can help you easily eat a variety of nutrients in your overall diet.
Helps improve Fitness
Having a snack before exercise can provide you with the fuel your body needs to perform at its best for training.
As well as having a snack after exercise to help your body recover and replenish your body to build strength and endurance.
With the right intention and strategy, snacks can be part of a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Adding snacks to your day can help to curb cravings, keep you energized, increase nutrients in your diet and improve your fitness.
When you go more than 4 hours without eating, check in with yourself and pair a carbohydrate with a fat or protein to give you longer-lasting energy.
Where can you add a snack to your day?
Feel free to comment below or message me on Instagram and let me know which snacks you will try!