12 Healthy Snacks That Can Boost Your Metabolism
Nobody wants a hangry mom.
If you’re anything like me, waiting long hours between meals can make you “hangry” (that’s a hybrid of “hungry” and “angry.”).
Studies have shown that it’s not healthy for our bodies to go longer than three to five hours without refueling; that can actually slow down our metabolism to think we’re starving.
Basically, it makes us hold onto our fat for dear life! Nobody wants that either.
Here’s a quick way to solve the hangry problem and the slow metabolism problem, all while boosting our energy levels: Work in a healthy snack between meals.
Many nutritionists agree that a balance of healthy (poly- or monounsaturated) fat, protein, and carbohydrates is a magic formula for satiating our appetites after every meal, while giving us energy to sustain us throughout the day.
When you add fat and protein to carbs, the carbs are released slower into your bloodstream, so that your meal also takes longer to digest. According to Livestrong.com, for adults over age 18, the proportions for total food intake should be 65 percent carbs, 10-35 percent protein, and 20-35 percent healthy fat.
Meals are a little easier to work this balance in, since there’s more canvas to work with. Snacks can be trickier. In case you have trouble coming up with the right fat/protein/carb combo in short form, here are six each of mid-morning and late-afternoon snacks to keep you and your metabolism moving.
6 mid-morning Snacks
Most moms get up way too early, unless they have been uniquely blessed with a late-sleeping child. (Ha, ha just kidding. Those don’t exist). Consequently, we eat breakfast early, and by 10 a.m., hunger strikes. Here are six options to help us make it to lunch!
Land O’Frost Deli Snackers and apple slices
These delectable cooked meat morsels come in single-serving packages and a variety of ham and chicken flavors, including Vermont maple ham and Buffalo style chicken. They range from only 60-80 calories per pouch and pack a whopping 10 grams of protein. Pair these savories with some apple slices for a sweet balance.
An ounce of nuts
Any kind of nuts will do, because they’re all loaded with unsaturated fats, protein, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Some of the healthiest kinds are walnuts (Omega-3 fatty acids); cashews (copper, magnesium, and iron); almonds (fiber and calcium); pistachios (vitamin B6); and pecans (antioxidants). Go for a low-sodium or even unsalted variety to keep your salt intake and water retention down.
A piece of whole wheat toast with avocado spread
Only use about a ¼ of an avocado to keep this delicious snack under 200 calories. Season with hot sauce or a little dash of salt, pepper, and cumin to give it a kick.
A cup of strawberries and a stick of mozzarella string cheese
Strawberries have the least sugar of all the berries, and it’s naturally occurring, so it’s much better for you than added sugars. Pair it with a “cheese stick,” as my kids call them, and you’ll be bouncing off the walls just like they do.
Greek yogurt with unsweetened, nut-based granola and a few drops of honey
Greek yogurt is packed with protein (twice the amount of regular yogurt), is lower in lactose, and contains probiotic cultures. Top with crunchy nuts or granola and drizzle with honey for a savory and sweet power punch.
A banana with natural peanut butter
If you’re trying to stay out of the cookie jar or your kids’ leftover Halloween/Christmas/Valentine’s Day candy stash, try sweet banana slices topped with peanut or almond butter. (
Tip: Look in your local health food section for single-serve nut butter pouches you can eat on the go.
6 mid-afternoon Snacks
I don’t know about you, but by the time I start making dinner at 5:30 p.m., I’m so hungry I start eating little bits and pieces of everything I’m preparing. By the time dinner’s made, I usually have taken in enough calories to actually replace my dinner, but I still go ahead and eat the meal anyway. Breaking my habits and taking the time to make myself a healthy snack around 3 p.m. will take some getting used to, but these six tempting snacks will get me through it.
Land O’Frost Simply Delicious Slow Roasted Beef slices, horseradish, and dates
Try this power snack that feels more like a decadent meal. Eating well is all about finding foods that are healthy but still seem like a treat. Six slices of the roast beef have only 60 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 10 grams of protein. Top them with a smear of pure horseradish (which is packed with vitamins and minerals), and set aside a few dates (a rich source of fiber and minerals) for natural sugar and carbohydrates.
Make-ahead, healthy deviled eggs
If you have about 10 minutes in the morning to prepare these ahead, you can snack on them for the next couple days. Just hard-boil some eggs, peel, slice lengthwise, scoop out the hardened yolks, and mix in a tablespoon each of hummus and Greek yogurt. Scoop them back into their shells, and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Eat a couple halves when you’re hungry at snack-time, and you’ll feel whole again.
Quick and crunchy bruschetta
Dice a tomato, and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, dried basil and garlic powder. Spread over top of 3 to 4 whole-grain crackers, then add a small dab of goat cheese or a smattering of shredded parmesan cheese on each. Top the whole ensemble with a douse of balsamic vinegar (I like to use the spray bottle of balsamic).
Edamame and pear slices
Edamame is easy to prepare (just buy frozen and thaw according to instructions), and it provides 8 grams of unsaturated fats and 14 grams of protein in just a 130-calorie, one-fourth cup serving. Add in a sweet pear for a few more energy-pumping carbohydrates.
Raw veggies with dip
Try cucumber slices, baby carrots, broccoli or cauliflower florets or red pepper strips that you can have with a variety of healthy dips like hummus or guacamole.
For a low-calorie, high-protein, savory dip, try mixing Greek yogurt with dried dill, dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, Kosher salt, and pepper to taste.
No-guilt, sweet popcorn
I had to add some dark chocolate into these healthy snack selections. You could even use this as an after-dinner dessert (if you’re dependent on your sweet fix).
Mix an unsalted, unbuttered bowl of popcorn with two tablespoons roasted almonds, and one tablespoon of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao) chips. (If you can’t find the chips, just chop up a tablespoon worth of a dark chocolate candy bar). Toss the mixture with salt for a sweet and salty treat.
While writing this article, I made my best effort to use this formula for every meal and snack, and not only was it fun to come up with interesting combinations, I did feel more energetic and satisfied after my meals. I’m going to try to keep up the good work, while allowing myself the occasional indulgence (as well as my stress-relieving wine at the end of the day). I might not be hangry anymore, but I’m never going to be perfect!