You know the feeling right down to that growl in your stomach, don’t you? That 3-in-the-afternoon slump. The day seems to be crawling by, and lunch is already a distant memory. You just need something to tide you over until dinner, and you know you should make smart food choices - but the chip bag is right there.
Before you know it, you’ve eaten more than you intended to, and you’re barely hungry when it comes time to eat a real meal again. You need help - you need snack recipes for weight loss that will help you keep temptation at bay, and a weight loss care plan meant to work with your lifestyle, not against it.
No matter which type of snack appeals to your nibbling preferences, rest assured there’s a healthy swap that will offer far more health benefits in the long run. Mix and match textures and flavors to keep your growling stomach placated, even if you’re focused on work or in the middle of a never-ending to-do list.
Whether you need something shelf-stable for running errands around town, or something refrigerated or frozen to beat late-night cravings, you have your pick of sweet, crunchy, creamy, and savory snacks that take very little to whip up. In fact, most can be made in large batches to enjoy all week, eliminating the frustration factor of finding healthy snack alternatives.
The trouble with many of the healthy snack recipes for weight loss is that they require long prep times; not an ideal situation when you’re craving them ‘right now’. The idea behind snacking is part food-for-fuel and part stimulation for the brain, so when the urge to chow down on snacks hits, very few people want to take the time to prepare anything from scratch. The trick is understanding your cravings, anticipating those needs, and working these easy healthy recipes for weight loss into your overall biology-based weight loss program.
Part of “snacking smart” means that you can’t just make good nutritional choices - you have to find snacks you actually like and will look forward to. No matter how tasty one person may find something with dairy in it, another person will long for something crispy and salty. Matching what you eat to what you crave will help satisfy your brain - and keep you from seeking out more food than you really need or want.
If you find yourself opening the refrigerator and frowning at the contents multiple times a day, you’re in very good company. According to a 2019 Food Insight report, over half of the survey responses indicated they snacked every day, while nearly two-thirds collectively snacked at least once a week.
The desire to eat more than you really need/want to happens most often when you’re either bored or, conversely, paying close attention to something else (also known as “distracted eating”). That’s why opening a bag of potato chips while watching a TV show can suddenly leave you with an unexpectedly empty bag.
Happily, despite the potential for these “snackccidents,” many nutritional and medical experts agree that snacking can be beneficial. Rather than ruining your appetite, tempting bites of nutritionally-balanced foods are actually very good for overall health.
In fact, the Cleveland Clinic notes that eating breakfast or lunch that’s too light on calories or certain nutrients can make cravings stronger, thus leading to poor (e.g., high-calorie, ‘bad’ fat, or salt-laden) snack choices. The best option is to find healthy snack recipes for weight loss that appeal to your palate, and stick to them like peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker, eating them before the unhealthy cravings have a chance to hit.
"I always crave something dairy or creamy."
If your favorite snacks fall into this category, your idea of snacking bliss probably looks like a big bowl of ice cream or a sweet, thick pudding. Sweet, creamy, dairy snacks may melt in the mouth, but they can also leave you feeling sluggish or tempt you into eating more than a reasonable portion - e.g., a whole pint at a time - if you get distracted. Instead, try a healthy snack recipe like this:
Looking for a healthy snack idea? These make a surprisingly satisfying trade-out for heavily processed, high-sugar ice cream. These tasty little bites are easy to make in a big batch, freeze solid on a cookie sheet, and pour into a freezer bag to enjoy whenever a craving strikes. They also make an excellent high protein snack for the morning, thanks to Greek yogurt and peanut butter, if you don’t have enough time to sit down to a full meal. If you have allergies or dietary concerns, alternate nut butter and seed butter (such as almond butter or sunflower seeds butter) make great substitutes.
"I always crave something sweet and chewy."
If you like chewing gum or gnawing on beef jerky, chances are this is your go-to snack category. You’re all about texture, but you also want some sweetness in your favorite foods. Licorice may appeal to you, as well as firmer, waxy-style candies that turn sticky enough to put dental fillings to the test. Check out some of these healthy sweet snacks recipes for weight loss:
You won’t need a special food dehydrator to make these healthy homemade snacks, which offer a satisfying chewiness and a sweet bite without the excess sugar. Simply slice your fruit of choice (e.g., strawberries, apples, apricots, figs, etc.) thinly and bake them low and slow in an oven. If you happen to have an air fryer, good news: you can complete the process in small batches even more quickly.
Check out these recipes outlining how to dehydrate fruits and vegetables - they're much better for you than store-bought versions, which typically rely on lots of sugar and preservatives for flavor.
"I always crave something salty and crunchy."
If a big bag of chips is your must-have snack, you love this category. Addictive in both texture and flavor, unhealthy salty snacks can leave you feeling parched and bloated. Unfortunately, they’re very widely available, which means that snackers that call this type of snack a favorite will need to be proactive about making (and stashing) healthy alternative crunchy and salty treats. That’s why keeping homemade nutritious snacks on hand can help you keep your snack attacks under control - and your weight loss goals on track:
An extremely popular snack among office workers, the off-the-shelf versions of this delicious-yet-slightly-painful treat can be high in salt and preservatives. This simple at-home recipe starts with a crunch from freeze-dried peas and finishes with a spice coating that’s easy to tweak and customize to your liking. While it may sound odd, some fans also swear by nibbling a little dark chocolate along with these tasty green treats! Pair this snack with any of your favorite healthy juice recipes for weight loss.
"I always crave something gummy and 'bouncy'"
A close cousin of the “sweet and chewy” snack fan group, these snackers love the texture of gummy candies. If you have a sweet tooth and gummy bears are a favorite go-to, or you could easily eat way too many pieces of caramel or taffy, it can be difficult to find healthy snack recipes for weight loss that scratch that itch. Chia seeds are an excellent healthy way to give your teeth those satisfying little “bubbles” to pop, much like bubble tea, without the sugar content of traditional gummy candy or boba.
This delicious pudding is full of little chia seeds that plump up, turning the coconut milk into almost a gel-like pudding - the more seeds, the firmer results. They can be made ahead of time in small jars or glasses in the fridge, ready to be grabbed and enjoyed as you settle in with a favorite TV show. Add some fresh fruit or coconut shavings, and they make a great breakfast or mid-morning snack, too! Prep them the night before and enjoy within a day or two to get the freshest flavor and the best consistency.
"I always crave something savory and rich."
It may not be a full meal, but a savory snack is one of the fastest routes to settling hunger if your next meal is hours away - but your hunger isn’t. Savory snacks do tend to be overly heavy, however, and one of the most likely culprits for actually ruining your appetite. A healthy alternative satisfies without needing to nibble handfuls upon handfuls.
Not only does this herby, savory, healthy snack recipe deliver an amazing crunch and a burst of mouthwatering flavor, it also keeps very well! Stash some in a jar on your office desk or a zip-top bag in the car for commutes to keep less-healthy snacking habits controlled. The protein of the almonds (which can be swapped out for similar nuts, if desired) will also help keep you full and satisfied between meals, adding in healthy fat rather than the empty calories of candy bars or potato chips. For an added crunch, you can also add them to any healthy salad recipes for weight loss.
Whether you’re looking for healthy low calorie snack recipes for weight loss or just something really delicious, these five tempting recipe ideas are a great start to your healthy snacking menu. Pair them up with a supportive, science-backed weight loss program and give yourself a variety of options to avoid flavor fatigue. Mix it up throughout the day to keep the temptation from driving you to the candy bowl or vending machine.
1) Pike, Alyssa, RD. "Snacking On the Rise: 2019 Food Health Survey Results." Food Insight (foodinsight.org), May 31, 2019, https://foodinsight.org/snacking-on-the-rise-2019-food-health-survey-results/. Accessed November 2, 2021.
2) "3 Reasons You Crave Sweet or Salty Foods." Health Essentials | Cleveland Clinic (health.clevelandclinic.org), March 25, 2021, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-reasons-you-crave-sweet-or-salty-foods/. Accessed November 2, 2021.
3) Weisenberger, Jill. "What Science Says about Snacking." Food & Nutrition (foodandnutrition.org), June 29, 2015, https://foodandnutrition.org/july-august-2015/science-says-snacking/. Accessed November 2, 2021.