10 Healthy Snack Ideas


I love snacking. Whether it be post-workout, mid-afternoon or every now and then late-night, I love any chance to eat extra food especially in snack form. Unfortunately though, most of the food on the snack aisle and in our pantries is over-processed, sugary, not-so-good-for you packaged goods.  There is no reason to completely cut out snacking (even if it is that midnight snack); however, to better care for and fuel your body, it is important to know what you are putting into it. Eating healthier foods can certainly energize you and make your whole body feel great! Try these 10 ideas next time you want to reach for that handful of greasy potato chips…

  1. Veggies and Dip

As a kid you were probably told to eat your vegetables and at the time it seemed like the worst possible thing ever. Well, vegetables are still just as important, but now they can easily be turned into a delicious snack! Try dipping cut up vegetables, such as broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber into either hummus or guacamole for an insanely delicious and nutritious deal! One of my favorite things is Whollylarge-chunky-avocado Guacamole individual 100 calorie packs because they really pack the flavor punch without being overly high in calories. Plus, avocado is really, really good for you and your body. Hummus also adds a bit of protein to your snack to keep you full until your next meal. Or perhaps just raw veggies is more your style…go for it! To help prepare, cut up a bunch of veggies at the beginning of the week (say Sunday?) when you have time so that they are easily reachable to munch on when your stomach begins to grumble!

2. Fruit

Fruits contain many vitamins, minerals and fiber, which helps keep you feeling fuller longer. This is why it is always a good idea to have an assortment of fruits on hand to snack on. Try cutting up apple, orange, nectarine, peach or pear slices, munching on some grapes, or making a fruit salad with bananas, apples, and a mixture of berries. If you want to enhance your fruit, try making a healthy fruit dip. One of my favorite things to do is melt peanut butter and mix it into plain low-fat Greek yogurt. This makes the perfect dip for apples or bananas. Check out your local farmer’s or super market to find out what fruits are ripe, in-season, and waiting for you!

3. Nut Butters

Nut butters are a healthy fat that should be included into any healthy eating plan. The good news too is that there are lots of different kinds out there-anywhere from peanut butter to almond butter to cashew butter…the options are almost endless! Spread peanut butter on celery with raisins and make a good ol’ fashioned ants on a log, top a piece of whole wheat toast with your choice of nut butter, dip fruit into it, or heck go ahead and eat a plain spoonful of it, no one’s judging! We’re probably all guilty of doing that at some point…I know I am!

4. Oatmeal

No, oatmeal is not just a morning breakfast item. In fact, it can make a very tasty, and filling, morning or afternoon snack. Try to stay away from buying the prepackaged oatmeal which can have non-nutritional added ingredients not to mention a high sugar content. Instead, make oatmeal using the rolled oats (what comes in the canisters) and adding your own toppings to control the amount of sugar. Even with making your own be careful of the amount of brown sugar, syrup, honey, etc. that you put in-it’s even better to add fresh fruit for the sweet taste instead of sweeteners. Some examples are adding fresh berries or orange slices to the top, stirring in peanut butter (yum!) and topping with a banana or mixing in Greek yogurt, fruit and a dash of cinnamon. Sometimes convenience is necessary however, so when buying oatmeal in the to-go cups make sure you check the nutrition label for the ingredients (should be minimal and no added corn syrup, oils, sugar, etc) and check that the sugar content is low (below 10 g).

5. Nuts

Nuts are super healthy for you and can be a very easy, portable and delicious snack for on the go. *However, watch out for portion size because the calories and fats, although good fats, can easily add up.* Nuts can be great in trail mix, by themselves, or mixed into foods such as yogurt and oatmeal. Instead of buying trail mix, make your own with an assortment of nuts, seeds and raisins (yes, sadly, that means leaving out the chocolate candies, BUT it also means more room for deliciously nutritious nuts!). Even a handful of almonds or walnuts work perfectly as snack too. Here is a link to the many health benefits of nuts and which kinds are the best for you.

6. Whole-Grain/Whole-Wheat Crackers

Although crackers may get a bad rap, they can be a great snack depending on a) what kind and b) what you pair with them. When looking at the ingredients list, look for the words Whole Wheat or 100% Whole Wheat. If it says “enriched, unbleached wheat” or anything like that, I hate to break it to you, but its not actually whole wheat (think pretzels, goldfish, cheez-its, etc.) Also, look for a small ingredient list: basically if it is packaged and has 30 ingredients, it’s not your healthiest choice. Some examples of good, nutritious crackers are Triscuits, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Kashi Pita Chips (or make your own pita chips for even better snack!), Blue Diamond Nut Thins, any brand’s brown rice crackers, black bean chips and kale chips. Try dipping the crackers in hummus or guacamole or pairing them with some lunch meat and cheese to add some protein to your snack!

7. Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt has become a big trend over the last 5-6 years and for a good reason! It typically has less sugar, less fat and more protein-all which makes for an absolutely delicious and nutritious snack. As was the case for the oatmeal, try to stay away from the flavored yogurts; instead gearing more towards the plain and adding in your own sweetness and flavoring. Excellent add-ins are healthy granola, fruit, nuts, or a dash of cinnamon or honey. If you do get flavored, check the ingredient list again for those added sugars (cane juice, any ‘syrup’, honey, etc.). Some of my favorite brands are Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt and Oikos Triple Zero Plain Greek Yogurt…but taste-test around and find the yogurt and toppings that work and taste the best for you!

8. Eggs

Again, eggs are not just a “for-breakfast” item and can be incorporated into a healthy snacking plan. Eggs provide a good source of protein as well as many of your daily vitamins and nutrients needed. And while it may not always be possible to whip yourself up an egg or two in the middle of the day, hard-boiling eggs for the week certainly can be done. If hard-boiled isn’t your thing you can try soft-boiled eggs too. Or if possible, such as for a post-workout snack, whip yourself up a vegetable omelet or scrambled eggs. However you eat them, eggs are a great snack to have.

9. Smoothies

One of the great things about smoothies, besides their nutrition and health benefits of course, is that there are so many different possibilities to mix in and change up your afternoon snack! If at work or school, you don’t need a full-on blender either, a magic bullet works perfectly fine. Some examples of good things to add to your smoothies are frozen or fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, almond milk, nuts or nut butters, spinach or kale…the list goes on and on! You can even add 1/2 a scoop of protein powder or some chia seeds to increase the nutritional value of the smoothie! Avoid going the easy way and buying yourself a smoothie at a fast food or smoothie place though, especially without checking the nutrition labels. Some places do have healthy smoothies; however, most smoothies you’ll find will be filled with sugar and other non-nutritional ingredients. But whenever making a smoothie at home (or work or school) is so easy, healthy and delicious, why wouldn’t you go with that option?

10. 1/2 a Sandwich

Last, but certainly not least, the simple half a sandwich can be a filling afternoon hunger-buster! Make sure you are using whole wheat bread (again look for whole wheat or 100% whole wheat…none of that enriched stuff) for your sandwich and then be creative with your add-ons! Try a peanut butter and jelly (easy on the jelly due to its high-sugar content) sandwich, peanut butter and banana sandwich, turkey, roast beef, or chicken sandwich. Top the meat sandwiches with veggies such as lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cucumber…or go straight for the complete veggie sandwich! Or ditch the bread if you prefer and use a lettuce wrap or wrap lunch meat around a cheese stick or slices of cheese. Any combination of these will provide you a filling and healthy snack option!

So there you have it! Snacking doesn’t have to be so bad or complicated, and in fact, it can be fun and delicious too! What’s your favorite healthy snack that keeps you going?


6 Benefits of Exercising Reguarly


Whether it was from your 5th grade P.E. teacher, your mom or your varsity coach, you’ve probably heard just how important exercise and physical activity is for your health. However, the benefits go beyond just the slightly-more-obvious physique side of things. Exercise is very beneficial for both your physical and mental health, productivity and overall life quality. (*Note this doesn’t mean if you don’t exercise you can’t or don’t have a quality life…there have just been studies shown that exercise can increase overall feelings of happiness and relaxation in life.) Although there are tons and tons of benefits to exercising, here are 6 simple benefits. Hopefully this–if nothing else has–will fuel you to start exercising regularly.

Stimulate Happy Chemicals

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals create a positive feeling and a euphoric state of mind while also eliminating pain (by connecting to receptors in your brain). The short story? Exercise=Endorphins; Endorphins=Happy You. (And yes all those Legally Blonde watchers, this is exactly what you are thinking!)

Boost Your Brain

Studies have shown that exercising helps boost brainpower by improving overall brain performance. It also sharpens your memory and increases your learning. Even leisurely activities of exercise help keep your brain fit and active (not just your body!) which will help fight off memory loss and keep certain skills such as vocabulary.

Improves Self Confidence and Body Image

In today’s society, it sometimes seems that many women (and men) are lacking in the self-confidence and positive body image departments. Exercising regularly will lead to you seeing fitness improvements that will surge your confidence. And sure, part of it does come from seeing your physical body change and seeing yourself as more attractive. However, even just being able to run faster or farther or lift heavier, regardless of how you look, can improve your self-esteem and the way you see your body.

Increase Productivity

Everyone wants to be more creative and productive, especially in the middle-of-the-afternoon slump. Solution? Exercise! Research has shown that people who exercise regularly tend to be more productive in their work. Also, “creativity power” is boosted up to two hours after working out. So even if you think you don’t have time to workout during your busy day, finding time for a quick walk or bout of exercise may be more beneficial than you may think!

Boosts Energy/Mood

When you feel sluggish or tired, I’m sure the last thing on your mind is to exercise…but maybe it should be the first! As mentioned before, exercise increases endorphins which boosts your mood and leaves you feeling happier. Exercise and other physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues in your body which can boost your energy. Next time you feel low-energy, take a walk or slight jog around the block.

Combat Bad Health Conditions/Disease

Regularly exercising can help you combat a range of health issues and concerns including, but not limited to, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Working out boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good cholesterol, and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This keeps your blood flowing smoothly for a healthy body system.

Overall, being active is one of the best things you can do for your health! But want to know the best part? In all the research and studies, there is nothing that ever limits your exercise.  Nothing says your exercise has to be running 3 miles, or heavy Olympic Lifting, or doing 3 different workouts a day…the point is just to exercise regularly: whatever that means for you! Maybe it’s taking a walk on your lunch break every day or fitting in a workout in between classes. As long as you are being active on a pretty regular basis (3-5 days a week), your body and health will thank you! Exercise because you want to take care of your body–after all, it’s the only one you get!

What are your thoughts? What are some of the reasons you workout and the benefits you get from it?


What Exactly Is Healthy Living?

                                                          What Exactly Is Healthy Living

Those desserts are so unhealthy…Wow she’s so healthy, I wish I could be like her….My New Years Resolution is to become healthier…I’ve been so unhealthy lately…

Most people have probably thought, heard, or said some variation of the above things. But, there’s just one little problem: what exactly is “healthy”?  In between social media, magazines and today’s society, the image of healthy has gotten quite distorted. It seems that numbers on a scale, dress sizes or a certain body image defines who is and isn’t healthy. Now I’ll be completely honest, I’ve gotten wrapped up in that argument way too many times: believing, thinking and feeling that healthy was a number, a size, an image. But, repeat after me: it’s not! HEALTHY IS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL! I think this is one of the hardest things to understand for anyone trying to be healthy. (Heck, it still trips me up some days.) Healthy doesn’t mean you have to size quadruple 0, or that you must workout 8 days a week, and eat nothing but kale. Healthy means making great choices when it comes to eating, exercise, sleep, stress management and drinking water. It involves your mind, body and spirit; it means listening to your body and taking care of yourself. Now, sure swapping your chips for vegetables as a snack is a good thing and getting some exercise and movement in every week is beneficial to you and your body…but there is no specific formula. It’s all about being yourself and finding the beauty in your own healthy ways.

That being said, there are a few key components to keeping up with your health.

Water: Water is so important to our bodies–considering they consist of 60% water–and it is key to our health to stay hydrated. Most health authorities suggest drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Sleep: Sleep can positively affect your metabolism, learning, memory, mood, immune function and many other health aspects. The amount of desired sleep can depend on age, but it is generally recommended that you get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

Stress Management: Although stress is inevitable, finding ways to manage the stress is important. Journaling, meditation, taking deep breaths, soaking in a bath, doing yoga and working out are all good examples of ways to destress. Explore different options to find what works best for you–again it’s not a one way fits all.

Exercise: Exercise boosts our metabolism, immune system and overall health as well as leaving our bodies feeling happier and healthier. It doesn’t even have to be  a super-intense workout: a light jog or a nightly walk can do the trick.

Eating: Make good-for-you food choices the majority of the time, but still find room to enjoy a small treat here and there. Try to stay away from processed foods (anything packaged) and head towards fruits, vegetables and lean proteins (eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese stick, turkey, chicken, etc.) Cooking your own meals, if possible, is a good way to ensure you are making better food choices too.

With these 5 components, you can tailor your choices to fit your life. We can’t all workout 7 days a week and eat amazingly clean, but we all can live a healthy lifestyle by making great choices for ourselves. Choose to be healthy because you love yourself and your body and want to take care of it. Whatever choices you make, choose them because they make you happy. That is exactly what healthy living is and what being Beyoutifully Healthy is all about.

What are your thoughts? What does healthy living mean for you?