Because you can only eat so many baby carrots and celery sticks.
This article was written by Marygrace Taylor and provided by our partners at Eat Clean.
Trading your regular 3 p.m. vending machine chips for an apple will probably help you lose weight. (And, let’s be honest, make you feel pretty freaking virtuous.) But it also might leave you hungry by 3:05 p.m.
It’s no secret that loading up on fruits and vegetables is a must for dropping pounds. But when it comes to a snack that’ll actually keep you satisfied, a handful of baby carrots or a banana probably isn’t going to cut it.
Here’s the thing, even though fresh produce is high in nutrients and low in calories, they’re also devoid of satiating protein and fat. And, because you’re a human, sometimes, you just aren’t feeling the celery sticks.
But there are still tons of healthy options that won’t leave you starving or totally bored at snack time. These eight clean treats are packed with protein, fat, and flavor—and they’re the perfect option when you’ve got fruit and veggie fatigue. Read on and get your munch on.
When you’re in the mood for something sweet, a square of the dark stuff is your best bet—and not just because it’s considerably healthier than a brownie. Research suggests that foods with super intense flavors tend to tire out your taste buds faster. So you end up feeling satisfied with a square or two—versus an entire sleeve of meh cookies.
LOW-FAT COTTAGE CHEESE WITH CINNAMON
Nuts are on every weight-loss food list, and for good reason: They’re packed with protein and healthy fats, which help you stay fuller longer. By picking pistachios instead of the usual almonds, you can eat a few more of them for less calories overall. More importantly, having to shell each individual nut takes a bit, so snack time lasts way longer.
They’re salty and crunchy like chips, but they’re packed with appetite-squashing protein and fiber instead of empty calories.
To make them, toss a can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed) with a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon or two of ground cumin or smoked paprika, and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. (You can use the leftovers on salads instead of croutons.)
AVOCADO AND SALSA
OK, technically an avocado is a fruit. But for nutrition purposes, it’s a delicious and kind of addictive source of healthy fat. Research suggests that it’ll also leave you satiated for up to five hours.
Though avocados are high in fat, they hardly break the calorie bank—half of a medium avocado has the same number of calories as a handful of nuts, and the salsa packs more I-can’t-stop-eating-this flavor.
For those times when dinner will be ready in 15 minutes, but you need something in your stomach now. Olives’ rich, buttery texture and briny flavor are super satisfying. Since they’ve got a little bit of fat, they will hold you over until it’s time to eat. You can pop five of them for just 20 calories.
What has more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal? A bowl of oat bran. A one-third cup serving of the stuff delivers nearly a third of your daily roughage, which will help you stay full for a really long time. For extra protein, cook your bran in low-fat milk. Research suggests that pairing fiber with liquids can help make the it even more filling.