Most of us get hungry between meals, and it can be very easy to make an otherwise 'healthy' diet 'unhealthy' by simply making a few poor choices in the snack department.
Snacking between meals isn't necessary a bad thing, in fact healthy snacking can help prevent binge eating later in the day, and can be a valuable source of nutrients in your diet - but only if you're making the right choices
The best snack options would be foods that offer a complex carbohydrate and a source of protein to keep you feeling sustained throughout the day.
To keep your heart healthy choose snacks that are high in fiber to help lower cholesterol levels, and try to go for foods that contain mostly monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, rather than saturated or trans fats.
Fresh fruits or vegetables should be your snack of choice most of the time, as these will provide you with the nutrients and antioxidants you need to help fight heart disease.
Many people use 100-calorie snack packs, such as crackers, cookies, or potato chips. While these are convenient items, and are a great way to control calories and portion size, they are not your best choice if you're trying to eat a heart healthy diet.
Here are 20 heart healthy snack suggestions for you to try:
#1 Small handful of unsalted nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts or Brazil nuts.
#2 Rye crisp bread with cottage cheese, sliced cucumber and a pinch of garam masala.
#3 Small serve of tuna mixed with natural yoghurt and herbs, spread onto celery sticks.
#4 Multigrain crackers topped with cheddar cheese and sliced green grapes.
#5 Small serving of natural yoghurt mixed with pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon for extra flavour.
#6 Apple slices, spread with peanut butter and a sprinkling of raisins.
#7 Wholegrain crisp bread spread with mashed avocado and a squeeze of lemon juice.
#8 Small cup of homemade vegetable soup.
#9 Raw vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, celery, cherry tomatoes served with low fat ranch dressing for dipping.
#10 Rice cakes spread with hummus, and topped with cherry tomatoes.
#11 Unbuttered/unsweetened popcorn, seasoned with herbs.
#12 Small bowl of frozen berries served with natural yoghurt, and topped with linseeds.
#13 Half-cup pure orange juice, frozen and eaten as sorbet.
#14 Fresh fruit smoothie made with silken tofu and seasonal berries.
#15 Pretzels served with cottage cheese for dipping.
#16 Half a peanut butter sandwich on wholegrain bread.
#17 Low calorie hot chocolate served with slices of green apple.
#18 Small bowl of wholegrain cereal with reduced fat milk.
#19 Fresh fruit salad served with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
#20 Raw veggie skewers, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber and radishes served with reduced fat hummus for dipping.
What are your heart healthy snack suggestions?
Do you struggle with healthy eating or weight loss? Get your free ebook on how to break bad habits by visiting the award winning Dietriffic.com. Authored by registered dietitian, Melanie Thomassian.