Snacks help satisfy appetite and provide energy between meals. Used in moderation, snacks are a welcome addition to a healthy low GI diet.
Our focus here is upon high quality, naturally nutritious foods that will satisfy with minimal glycemic impact.
By filling the gaps between meals, snacks tend to prevent overeating at meal time and keep energy levels stabilized during the full daily cycle.
Here, “snacks” are distinguished from “meals” by the facts that (in portion sizes typically eaten):
1. each totals less than 300 calories
2. is easily carried with you, and
3. requires little or no preparation time.
Our suggestions for great tasting, low glycemic snacks include the choices listed below.
Nuts and Seeds
These highly nutritious, low-glycemic natural foods are composed mostly of proteins and (healthy) fats. Good choices include organic cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. For balance, combine with carbohydrate (such as fruits).
Hard Boiled Eggs
Rich in high quality proteins and essential vitamins and minerals,eggs are often used as THE standard by which other food proteins are judged. Egg yolk is rich in fat (about 14 g/egg) but most of this (over 85%) is unsaturated fat. Eat in combination with a good carbohydrate source (such as fruits).
Fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries are all packed with healthful nutrients. With just 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, many berries are also very high in fiber and antioxidants. Combine with healthy protein (like Greek yogurt or nuts) for a balanced snack.
Hummus is a Mediterranean staple chock full of nutritious ingredients, including chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and olive oil. It is widely used as a spread (great substitute for mayo), side dish, or dip. Try a cup of hummus dip with chilled, crunchy veggies.
Granola is made from a “base” of whole rolled oats mixed with nuts, seeds, and/or dried fruit. Crunchy granola does fine as a “stand-alone” snack, or in combination with yogurt, milk, etc. At less than $4/lb. from Amazon (Bob’s Red Mill), what’s not to like?
Yogurt – particularly Greek yogurt is a great stand-alone snack that offers a balance of protein, carbs, and (optionally) fats. It is even better combined with nuts, seeds, and /or berries. Greek yogurt offers more protein, thicker texture, and an overall better nutritional profile.
Snack Bars /Protein Bars can be very calorie-rich, and high glycemic, so read the labels and choose wisely! An excellent choice at a modest price (and our favorite) is The Simply Bar – under 200 calories, 15g of protein, gluten-free, high-fiber, and highly mobile without transforming into a gooey mess!
Snack Warning: MODERATION IS THE KEY
Snacking should only be done in moderation as needed to satisfy hunger or provide additional energy between meals.
Even healthy nutritious snacks are by no means calorie free. Snacking out of habit or boredom is counterproductive in terms of weight loss.
Especially be aware of mindless TV-induced snacking habits – this will destroy any weight-loss diet.
Remember, the keys to healthy low glycemic snacks are to:
- Aim for balanced high-quality nutrition
- Snack only when hungry
- Eat controlled, sensible portions
(Updated October 31, 2016.)