I’m a boredom snacker. I get the midnight munchies (more like 9 p.m. — I’m in my 30s, guys). Maybe it’s an oral fixation — I just love to occupy myself with crunching and chewing.
I’m not hungry. But I find myself feeding the urge to keep my hands and mouth busy. And by the time I realize what’s going on, 1,000 calories have gone down the hatch and there’s a deflated bag of dehydrated mango slices in my lap. Relate much?
So instead of denying my cravings (which can be downright impossible), whenever I get that hand-to-mouth itch, I turn to these healthy, satisfying and low-calorie snacks. Give ’em a whirl.
Edamame, a delicious whole food, is easy to prepare and available at any grocery store. One, an 8-oz. steamable bag packs 13 grams of protein into only 140 calories. Sprinkle with sea salt and a little soy sauce to satisfy your salty craving.
Two, a single portion of edamame can take ages to eat. In fact, it can take the better part of a movie to pull the beans out of the pods with your teeth. Plus, the fiber is filling. By the time the bowl is empty, you’ll be satisfied.
Few snacks sound more refreshing than a bowl full of juicy, fresh cherries, right? Cherries contain anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that helps cut inflammation, and they’re low in calories at about 5 calories each.
If you’ve got some time to waste, cherries are a great snack. It can be an exercise in itself to de-pit them in your mouth. To ensure all the cherry flesh dissolves, leave each cherry pit in your mouth an extra minute.
Choose tart cherries over sweet, if you have the option — they’re higher in vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Popcorn is one of the best ways to feed a snacking frenzy.
It’s full of fiber, antioxidants, low in fat and gluten-free. Grab one popped kernel at a time to make a bowl last your entire movie marathon.
Just skip the microwave or movie theatre kinds. Air-popped contains a mere 30 calories per cup, unless you load it with butter or other toppings.
Chickpeas are known for their role in weight management and digestive health. Canned chickpeas are soft and tasteless. You can take them up a notch by seasoning and toasting them in the oven.
One cup of chickpeas contains about 15 grams of protein and half the recommended daily value of fiber.
P.S. The more spice you add, the slower you’ll eat.
70% cacao (or higher) chocolate chips
Chocolate is usually considered off-limits for the diet-conscious, but not all chocolate is created equal.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and can help lower blood pressure. And unlike the sugary stuff in your typical bagged candy, 70% cacao chocolate is bittersweet, allowing you to eat slow and savor.
If you’re craving a rich and delectable snack, nibble on two tablespoons of chocolate chips. Go as dark as possible for the least sugar and fat.
What’s your favorite snack? Leave me a comment!