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Clean Eating Snack Ideas

written by: Dr. Kristie Leong • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 5/17/2010

Snacks are fun, but the wrong ones can make you overweight - and unhealthy. Here's how to choose clean eating snacks that are not only healthy, but taste great too.

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    One reason some people have problems losing weight is because they choose the wrong snacks. Having a few healthy snacks throughout the day can be a good thing because it provides a little additional fuel to keep the body out of starvation mode – which can slow down the metabolism. The key is to choose “clean eating” snacks.

    What exactly is clean eating and what are the best snack options when you're eating clean? Clean eating and planning healthy menus simply means eating fresh, wholesome foods, while avoiding unprocessed foods that are high in sugar, salt, and bad fats - but low in nutrients. This means avoiding most packaged, convenience, and fast foods – and eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods. What are some good clean eating snack choices?

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    Nuts are Good Clean Eating Snacks

    Clean eating means staying away from vending machines and the high sugar, high fat snacks they contain. Instead, make your own packages of mixed nuts by weighing out a quantity that contains 100 calories and placing them in a plastic bag. Nuts are a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. They’re also filling and satisfying. For more flavor, season your nuts with various herbs and spices. Peanut butter on a whole grain cracker is another good clean eating snack, but choose a natural peanut butter that’s free of hydrogenated oils.

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    If You’re Eating Clean, Go for the Berries and Fruits

    Berries are the perfect clean eating snack. They’re one of the fruits that’s the lowest in calories, yet they’re filled with healthy antioxidants. For a mid-morning snack, stir a handful of berries into a cup of low sugar vanilla yogurt or make a berry smoothie using berries, yogurt, and ice. Fresh berries are best since dried berries are a more concentrated source of natural sugar and calories. Other tasty options are to spread an apple or pear with peanut or almond butter or a banana with a small amount of honey and chopped nuts. Try freezing grapes in the freezer – they’ll taste like a frozen ice cream treat.

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    When Eating Clean, Don’t Forget the Veggies

    Raw vegetables are one of the best clean eating snacks, but they taste a little bland to some people. No problem. You can jazz them up by adding a healthy dip. One of the healthier options is hummus, a Mediterranean condiment that’s made of pureed chickpeas. Other alternatives are homemade low fat onion dip made with low fat sour cream or pureed bean dip with added spices - which can be made at home using a blender or food processor. You can also dip raw vegetables into spicy salsa or basil pesto. Broccoli, cucumbers, celery, carrots, and cauliflower are some of the better vegetables to eat raw.

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    Other Clean Eating Snack Ideas

    Whole grain crackers that contain no hydrogenated oils are a good snack when combined with peanut butter, hummus, or a low fat cheese spread. Natural food stores usually carry whole grain crackers that are healthier than ones you get at the regular grocery store.

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    The Bottom Line?

    By eating clean you don’t have to feel guilty about snacking – and you’ll be healthier. Enjoy the many benefits of clean eating!