Things you’ll learn in this blog:
You’re going to snack!
Unless you have superhuman willpower it’s likely that at some point during the day you’ll want to eat between meals.
And that’s okay!
Snacking isn’t a swear word, and it can form part of a perfectly healthy and balanced diet.
But in all honestly, you do have to limit the number of sweet treats you consume if you’re trying to kick off a healthy lifestyle. As much as we’d like to tell you that you can consume a whole tub of cookies a day and lose weight, it’s probably not very likely.
However, you can make some nutritious swaps, replacing sweet treats with some healthy snack alternatives.
In this blog, we’re looking at some of the best healthy snack alternatives to sweet treats.
How to avoid unnecessary snacking…
As much as some level of snacking is normal, many people unnecessarily snack, whether it’s out of hunger or boredom.
But how do you avoid this?
1. Eat enough calories in your meals…
It can be tempting to cut your calories and eat less, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Oftentimes this backfires, and you will end up inhaling any food that’s in sight, totally destroying your snacking willpower.
So the first thing to do is ensure that you are getting enough nutrition and calories, in your regular meals. Generally speaking, women need 2000 calories a day and men need 2500 calories a day.
However, you can more accurately calculate your calorie intake using your weight, and activity levels.
How to calculate your BMR + AMR…
You can calculate a more accurate, personalized calorie intake by using your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Women BMR = 655.1 + (9.563 x weight in kg) + (1.850 x height in cm) - (4.676 x age in years)
Men BMR = 66.47 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5.003 x height in cm) - (6.755 x age in years)
From there you can calculate an active metabolic rate (AMR), which accounts for your movement and lifestyle.
Sedentary (little or no exercise): AMR = BMR x 1.2
Lightly active (exercise 1–3 days/week): AMR = BMR x 1.375
Moderately active (exercise 3–5 days/week): AMR = BMR x 1.55
Active (exercise 6–7 days/week): AMR = BMR x 1.725
Very active (hard exercise 6–7 days/week): AMR = BMR x 1.9
Once you have calculated your AMR you can ensure that you are eating enough, and this will make you less likely to have unplanned snacks.
2. Make sure your meals are filling…
Ever eaten fast food and been starving an hour later?
That’s because fast food often isn’t nutritiously dense, meaning that while you’ll be stuffed straight after - you’ll quickly be hungry again.
And leads to, you guessed it, snacking…
While snacking isn’t bad, it’s good to eat nutrient-dense food, as well as ensure that you have enough calories so that you are full for longer and limit the likelihood of snacking.
3. Plan your snacks
And that leads us to snack planning…
If you just grab whatever comes to hand when you are hungry, the chances are you won’t make smart choices. You’ll likely grab the first thing that comes to hand whether that’s carrots or a whole tub of peanut butter.
So, it’s a good idea to plan and portion your snacks out. That means you can snack away guilt-free while knowing that you aren’t breaking your calorie budget.
And yes, even while doing all this you’ll still have the occasional binge-snacking session - and that’s okay.
By following these steps you’ll reduce the likelihood of this and over time train yourself away from it.
- Related content: Healthy afternoon snacks: lose weight and beat the afternoon snacks
Trick your brain with healthy alternatives to your sweet cravings…
Have you ever told your mum you’re hungry only to be met with:
“have a bit of fruit…”
Is there anything more disheartening than hearing that when all you want is a bar of chocolate?
Of course, it’s good to include fruit in your diet. But if you’re craving chocolate and try and satisfy that craving with an apple, you’ll likely snap eventually and eat all the chocolate around you.
That’s why rather than trying to completely eradicate your sweet tooth it’s a good idea to find sensible healthier snacking alternatives. Planning these can help stop you from reaching for the chocolate or cake.
They aren’t always perfect, but they are much better and healthier alternatives that will help you manage your cravings rather than suppress them - a much more sustainable way to snack.
So let’s get into some healthy snack substitutes…
1. Healthy snacks if you love peanut butter and jelly…
Hands up if you love peanut butter and jelly.
Yeah, no wonder. It’s a classic combo reminiscent of childhood, and equally delicious as an adult.
But all that sugar and fat doesn’t make for a diet-friendly snack, especially not if you are making it regularly.
Luckily there’s a way to replicate the flavors and textures without the sugar.
Jam is made from fruit, right?
So get your favorite fruit (hard fruit like apple or pear works best, but you can use nectarines, peaches, or plums) and slice it into segments. Then spread a small amount of smooth or crunchy nut butter on each slice.
You’re still getting the fruity and nutty flavor, but in a way that cuts out the bread, and replaces it with fresh fruit.
Tip: fresh fruit has a lot of water in it so it’s more filling than dried fruit.
2. Healthy snacks if you love chocolate…
Did you know that chocolate has some pretty impressive health benefits?
But all the good stuff is in the cacao, which is the raw part of chocolate. What’s not so good is the oils, butter, sugars, and mix-ins we add to commercial chocolate bars.
Get hold of some 80%, 90%, or even 100% cocoa chocolate, and get your chocolate fix every day.
High cocoa chocolate tastes so rich you won’t be able to eat anything like as much as milk chocolate - but still helps to satisfy your chocolate craving.
Related content: 9 of the best low-calorie snacks that are delicious and healthy
3. Healthy snacks if you love pudding…
You’re craving a sticky toffee pudding with some ice cream, covered in sauce. Sadly you’re craving this a little too often and need a substitute.
An apple isn’t going to cut it this time, so you’ll have to get a little inventive.
Grab some plain greek yogurt or some high-protein yogurt of quark. You can either buy them pre-made with some flavor or add in a little boost of protein or flavoring.
We love a vanilla flavor with a sprinkle of seeds, dark chocolate chips, or blueberries (and maybe a scoop of protein powder).
4. Healthy snacks if you love popcorn…
Fancy feeling like you’re at the movies from home?
There is no better way than by tucking into a bag of popcorn. And luckily, popcorn is a really healthy snack if you steer clear of the toffee-glazed varieties.
Pop your own and add cinnamon or salt, or look out for the natural low-sugar type in the supermarket.
Here’s a diet hack: pour a portion into a bowl rather than eating straight from the bag so you know how much you are eating!
5. Healthy snacks if you love ice cream…
A tub of Ben & Jerry’s would be great - but it’s definitely not a regular fixture of a healthy diet (although it’s still fine to have occasionally).
However, making your own protein ice cream is a great way to fill yourself up, and trick your mind into thinking you are eating ice cream.
And there’s no need to pay for expensive protein ice cream when you can make your own with just a few ingredients.
In your blender mix a scoop of protein powder, ice, and a small pinch of xanthan gum. The natural gum reacts with the ice to thicken the mixture up just like ice cream.
Add any toppings you like (maybe a little honey or even some 80% dark chocolate sprinkles).
6. Healthy snack if you love crumble…
Is there anything cozier than a hot apple crumble on an Autumn day?
We’ve got an apple crumble alternative that only takes 10 minutes to make for a single healthy portion.
Chop any combination of cooking apples, pears, or rhubarb and layer in a small oven-proof dish with some frozen berries. Microwave for 4-5 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Meanwhile, heat a shallow non-stick pan and add 30g rolled oats and 10g seeds to the hot pan. Immediately turn the pan off and move the oats around to toast them. Add a shake of cinnamon to the oats before spreading them on top of the fruit.
Quick! Simple! And feels like a bit of a treat.
7. Healthy snacks if you love bananas…
Maybe fruit is your idea of a brilliant snack, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get boring. Luckily there are ways to make it a little more exciting.
Bananas are one of the sweetest fruits in nature, but you might have an overripe bunch that would otherwise get thrown out.
Next time, why not peel and chop the banana into chunks and pop the chunks in the freezer?
Then, in a blender, add a few frozen banana chunks, frozen berries, and a splash of milk of your choice, and blend until it reaches your desired consistency.
A delicious snack, that also makes use of fruit that is about to go to waste (good for you and the planet).
Stay on track with healthy snack alternatives…
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to completely eliminate all sweet treats and snacks to kick off a healthy lifestyle.
But you will snack, and the goal is to plan so that the snacks you eat are delicious and healthy - rather than constantly reaching for sweet treats.
Luckily there are loads of ways that you can satisfy your sweet tooth, and keep yourself on track with your health goals.
And if you need a helping hand, then PhenQ can help you control your cravings and shift that weight that won’t budge.