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Healthy Afternoon Snack Ideas

Healthy afternoon snacks

Afternoon snacks are important to curb hunger and increase nutrient intake, giving you the energy you need to finish the day strong and power through evening workouts. These snacks are packed with complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, lean protein, vitamins, and minerals to keep you feeling your best.

Open-faced Avocado Sandwich

Avocado supplies heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. When eaten with whole grain bread, it makes a filling snack with both protein and fiber. Mash and spread ½ an avocado over 1 slice of 100% whole grain, sugar-free bread. Sprinkle with the juice from 1 wedge of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Calories: 166

Easy Tuna Salad

Tuna canned in water mixed with a few seasonings creates a delicious, high protein spread for whole grain crackers or toasted bread. Mix one can (5 oz.) of drained tuna with 2 tablespoons of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt, 1 sliced green onion, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder, and salt and black pepper to taste. For a touch of sweetness, add ¼ cup of diced purple grapes. Serve with slices of toasted whole wheat baguette. Calories (for ½ of the tuna salad only): 99

Quick Bean Salad

Beans are full of fiber and plant protein. When drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fresh herbs you add heart-healthy fat and phytonutrients. You can choose any of your favorite canned beans and stir in flavorful additions like sliced green onion, diced bell pepper, cilantro, parsley, basil, and a pinch of salt, pepper, cayenne, curry, or cumin. This is a snack you can make ahead of time, and pack to eat throughout the week. Combine 1 can (15 oz.) of rinsed and drained black beans with 1 diced red bell pepper and ¼ cup chopped cilantro. Stir in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of 1 lime. Season with ½ teaspoon of cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Calories (¼ recipe): 119

Apple Cinnamon Cold Cereal

Unsweetened, whole grain cereal can be a great snack option, especially if you have a workout planned in a couple hours. This snack provides fiber and a little protein, but it is low in fat which may be easier on your stomach when you are ready to get moving. Combine ¾ cup of bran flakes with ½ a diced apple, an 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and ½ cup non-fat milk. Calories: 178

Smoothies

Protein shakes and smoothies shouldn’t be reserved for breakfast. The balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat make them an ideal afternoon snack, too. All you really need for a great smoothie is a cup of your favorite frozen fruit and ½ to 1 cup of your choice of milk. Fresh fruit works well too, just add some ice if you prefer a thicker smoothie. Add fresh spinach leaves or herbs to boost vitamins and yogurt, almond meal, or nut butter to increase the protein. Try this Chocolate Strawberry Peanut Protein Shake. Calories: 300

Peanut Butter and Fresh Fruit Sandwich

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich can be a healthy snack, but jelly is often loaded with sugar giving you little of the nutritional benefit found in fruit. Skip the jelly and add fresh cut fruit like sliced strawberries, blueberries, or chopped banana over the top of the peanut butter. Spread 2 tablespoons of natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter over 1 slice of 100% whole grain, sugar-free bread. Top with 2 sliced strawberries and press gently so the berries stick to the peanut butter. Finish it off by topping with a second slice of the bread. Calories: 301

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