7 Healthy After Dinner Snack Ideas – Andie Mitchell

pineapple

Frozen fruit

Try frozen grapes or pineapple. What I love about eating frozen fruit is this: it’s very sweet and it takes a while to eat since you can’t easily chomp through each bite. You’ve got to be slow and deliberate and allow for it to melt a bit on your tongue.  For the pineapple, buy Pineapple Tidbits from Trader Joe’s. One full bag will only cost you 200 calories and it will last at least a full episode of Breaking Bad.  It may even get you straight into your DVR’ed episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey, but who can say?

grapes

For the grapes, wash them and dry well. Store in airtight containers or resealable plastic bags and freeze.
Photo sources: timsackton, adam tinworth

popcorn

Popcorn

Here I suggest buying an air popper and using whole kernels rather than relying on the microwaveable or oil popped kinds. You’ll save hundreds of calories if you can avoid that oil. You’ll also avoid ingesting a number of unnatural chemicals and preservatives. To top your popcorn, try these ideas: a heavy sprinkling (2 tablespoons) of grated parmesan cheese and a dash of garlic salt (adds 50 calories to popcorn), 1-2 melted tablespoons of butter and a few shakes of salt (adds 100-200 cals), 1 tablespoon of sugar and a few shakes of salt and cinnamon (adds 60 calories)

Photo source: ccharmon

greek yogurt

Fat free Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese

In most circumstances, I urge you to use only low or full fat dairy products. This is for a number of reasons, but mainly because I think popular commercial brands of fat free dairy products are often far too processed and contain additives and fillers to make up for fat lost. Also, I see no harm in moderate consumption of whole milk products and their saturated fat content. I believe the fat to be more richly satisfying.
However. Those of us who adore volume, who just jones for big portions, we would do well to stick to fat free yogurt, etc, at night. Why? Because if we know ourselves and we acknowledge that we crave quantity, we will be able to enjoy more of a fat free product than one with fat. Calorically, fat free dairy costs much less considering serving size.  One full cup of fat free Greek yogurt is approximately 100 calories. One cup of fat free cottage cheese is 160 (and low fat is only 180). One cup of fat free ricotta cheese is roughly 160 calories. To flavor the yogurt/cottage cheese/ricotta: drizzle it with one tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or fruit jam (adds 50 calories to the yogurt).
Recommended brands: Stonyfield Oikos, Fage, Chobani
Photo source: mr. t in dc

guacamole_chips1

15 tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole

2 tablespoon salsa (150 calories for chips and salsa) or 2 tablespoons guacamole (200 calories for chips and guacamole)

pb_banana_oats

Sweet banana oatmeal

Cook 1/2 cup dry rolled oats in 1 cup water along with one small sliced banana. The banana pieces should melt into the oats as they simmer and thicken.   Top with two teaspoons of peanut butter or brown sugar. (this full recipe comes in just under 300 calories)

stonyfield froyo

Stonyfield Farm Organic Fat Free Frozen Yogurt

I’m going to give you my word here. This is by far the best commercial brand of frozen yogurt in the grocery store. Listen, you may know of a smaller, independent froyo brand that you love, that you can promise me is tastier than anything else. I’ll believe you and I’ll kindly ask you to invite me over to share some. But this is one that almost all of us can find in stores these days.  It’s ultra creamy and smooth, with an ingredient list you can feel better about than, say, all of the slow churned stuff by Edy’s and Dreyer’s and Breyer’s. And I’m not referring to the Oikos version of Stonyfield froyo, not even the Ben and Jerry’s tart Greek froyo; I’m only committed to this one: Stonyfield Organic in these three flavors: Gotta Have Vanilla, Gotta Have Java, and After Dark Chocolate. A half cup serving of this delicious yogurt is 100 calories, and even more lovely: the whole pint, should you choose to eat it Andie style, will only cost you 400 calories.

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Fruit and ______________

This last snack suggestion is not one specific item, but rather, it’s my idea of dessert balance. Remember how I told you that I love to pair whatever I’m craving for dinner with a massive side of vegetables? Remember how fond I am of setting a reasonable square of lasagna next to a pile of roasted broccoli? The reason I do this is because it allows the vegetables to be the filling and nutritious part of the plate, and the rest of the meal to be less about filling my stomach and more about filling my mind. It allows me to have what I want and still feel balanced.

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I like to apply the same principle to dessert when I can. To do this, I pair a small serving of some dreamy dessert with a bowlful of fruit- usually strawberries, watermelon, or segments of citrus fruit. An example of this might be 2 rich chocolate cookies and a cup of strawberries or a serving of Ben & Jerry’s with a bowl of watermelon or a slice of cake and an orange. The fruit helps to fill me, and the rich treat just serves as flavor. I’m able to enjoy my favorite desserts without wanting to overeat them until I feel full, a task which would undoubtedly end with an empty cake plate and a chocolate mustache.

Now it’s your turn: What snacks do you love to munch on at night? Do you have any go-to goodies that are filling and healthy? I can’t wait to hear your favorites.