Before reaching for that bag of chips (read: empty carbs), why not try out some of the more nutritious snack ideas below?
We adore our delicious Malaysian delicacies, so much so that we have a meal between breakfast and lunch, and another between lunch and dinner, and some even have one between dinner and bed.
You can’t avoid those pangs of hunger that come between big meals. However, we challenge you to snack differently. Instead of going for sugar-laden kuih-muih or a bag of deep-fried chips, how about something that’s both satisfyingly delicious yet nourishing for your body?
Below are 31 days of healthy snacks that’ll keep you away from the chips bag for an entire month:
DAY 1. Frozen Yogurt Bites
This one is easy-peasy to make ahead. Just mix a teaspoon of honey with a cup of sugar-free yogurt and spread it out on a trap. Throw on some nuts of your choice (pistachios are lovely), some fresh cut fruit and stick it in the freezer. Break it up when it’s frozen and you’ll have snacks for days!
DAY 2. Steamed Edamame
Edamame are basically just young, green soybeans, and they taste awesome. You can buy them from the supermarket or from Japanese specialty grocery stores for cheap, throw them into a steamer or boil in water with salt. The best thing of all? They’re pretty filling and nutritious for very little calories (only 122 calories per 100g).
DAY 3. Tuna Onion Salad
My mom used to make these and they were the bomb. Get a can of tuna in water, drained and flaked, then add in chopped celery and sweet onion, 2 tbsp of low-fat yogurt, and 1 tbsp of regular mayo, mix well and season with salt and pepper. The onion and celery adds a yummy crunch to the salad while substituting most of the mayo with yogurt still gives it a creamy texture with less calories.
DAY 4. Baked Apple Chips
Crunchy, sweet, and guilt-free, these apple chips are also easy to make and stores well for a long time! Recipe here.
DAY 5. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas comes armed with protein and fibre and is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. This spicy roasted chickpeas recipe takes almost no effort but yields a delicious batch of crunchy chickpeas for those of you who loves munching of crisps. The recipe calls for canned chickpeas but it’s best to use fresh, just boil them first!
DAY 6. Banana
Sometimes, a simple potassium boost will suffice. Bananas are a fast and easy (not to mention filling) snack before workouts.
DAY 7. Vietnamese Fresh Springrolls
Vietnamese fresh springrolls are super yum and much less of a guilt trip than our deep-fried ones. Use this recipe but instead of the rice vermicelli, fill them to the brim with veggies and dip in the tangy garlicky sauce for a refreshing pick-me-up.
DAY 8. Taufufa
This is a favourite Malaysian dessert / snack made from soy beans which slides down your throat hot or cold. Cut back on the sugar to make it a healthier snack.
DAY 9. Air-Popped Popcorn
Did you know you could make your own popcorn at home? And did you know popcorn is a fibre-rich wholegrain and is really good for you, IF you do not pile on loads of sugar, oil, and other nasty additives (which is what the cinemas do)? Just stick a couple of tablespoons of popcorn into a paper bag, fold it well and place in a microwave on high till popping goes slow and almost to a halt. At this point, don’t go any further else you’d be burning your popcorn. Sprinkle with a little salt, grated Parmesan, or even cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar. Get creative and make your own gourmet popcorn with the ideas here.
DAY 10. Oatmeal with Fruit
Oats are a great way for your body to get some soluble fibre, which will help regulate blood sugar levels. It doesn’t hurt that oats cooked with a bit of skim milk and chopped fresh fruits makes a super satisfying snack, or even meal.
DAY 11. Zucchini Sushi Rolls with Avocado Pesto
No rice used in this sushi. Instead, you get a crunchy medley of veggies, fruits and nuts with a tangy, creamy avocado pesto. Mmmm. Full recipe here.
DAY 12. Hard-Boiled Egg
Sometimes all you need is something filling to fill up that tiny space in your grumbling tummy. 1 large hard-boiled egg is only 78 calories but could fill you for quite some time. Dip in a little soy sauce or salt and pepper.
DAY 13. Honey-Drizzled Strawberries
DAY 14. Curried Cauliflower Bites
Baked in the oven, these cauliflower bites are crunchy goodness made with only cauliflower, egg whites, yogurt, and spices. 5 of them is only 80 calories, so not overly taxing on your daily calorie intake.
DAY 15. Fruit Rojak
Rojak signifies us as Malaysians, a concoction of everything mixed into a beautiful bowl of crunchy goodness. Take only half a tablespoon of the sauce and skip the prawn crackers for a healthier snack.
DAY 16. Roasted Seaweed
If you’re just feeling peckish and need an easy snack, seasoned seaweed packs very few calories but contains iodine, a nutrient which helps to maintain a healthy thyroid.
DAY 17. Dark Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas
If dark chocolate alone doesn’t strike your fancy, then perhaps you might like this. Cut bananas in half, pierce in an ice cream stick and dip into dark chocolate. You can coat it with nuts if you like. Place on a tray and freeze. 1 stick will satisfy all your cravings for sinfully sweet desserts.
DAY 18. Veggie Pickle
Shred some cucumber and carrot and toss together in a white vinegar (apple cider, white wine etc) and a tiny bit of brown sugar to balance with the sourness. Sprinkle some chia seeds and flavour with a bit of salt and pepper and voila, you’ve got yourself a tangy veggie pickle!
DAY 19. Fresh Coconut
Littered throughout the streets of our tropical country are fresh young coconuts which will quench your thirst. Scrape off the milky meat of the fruit to satisfy your hunger.
DAY 20. Popiah
Filled to the brim with sengkuang and fresh veggies, fresh popiah (not the fried one) can actually be a very healthy and tasty snack IF you don’t pile on the sauces.
DAY 21. Grapes
A cup of cold grapes will cool you down on a hot day and keep your hunger at bay. You can try freezing them too! (But choose seedless ones if you do, and prep yourself for a brain-freeze!)
DAY 22. Cucumber Hummus Cups
Hummus, made from the superfood chickpeas is lip-smackingly good and is packed with protein, fibre, and good fats. These cucumber hummus cups are pretty easy to make, and looks really cute too! Hummus recipe here, cucumber hummus cups recipe here. Be careful with eating too many of these though, because while cucumbers are practically zero in calories, hummus still packs a punch.
DAY 23. Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
Who says you can’t indulge while eating healthy? Melt some dark chocolate (either on a stove or in a microwave – low heat, and keep stirring), then dip strawberries in and rest on a tray till chocolate solidifies. 5 of these are less than 100 calories! Full recipe here.
DAY 24. Sweet Potato Fries
This one is super simple to make. Just chop up sweet potatoes into sticks, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and spices of your choice (we love paprika, garlic powder and oregano). Then bake in the oven till crisp. Full recipe here.
DAY 25. Yogurt with Fresh Fruit
Plain yogurt on its own could be boring but nothing dresses it up better than fresh fruit! Our favourites are blueberries, mangoes and bananas.
DAY 26. Cherry Tomatoes
Get those on the vine for maximum flavour and juice! A cup of these babies contains a mere 27 calories but gives you 1.3g of protein, 1.8g of fibre and 20mg of vitamin C! If you’re extra hungry, have 2 or even 3 cups and you still won’t hit the 100-calorie mark.
DAY 27. Banana Ice Cream
Whiz up a banana in a blender / food processor and stick it in the freezer. Couple of hours later you’ll have a creamy, ultimately satisfying ice cream that melts in your mouth. Recipe here.
DAY 28. Carrot Chips
See image above. Crisp, yummy, and guilt-free!
DAY 29. Dark Chocolate
Sometimes you just need some chocolate in your life. Chocolate is actually good for our health if taken in moderation, but this doesn’t include the ones packed with sugar and additives. Go for good, dark chocolate that’s more than 70% cocoa for a better snack. Be careful though, as the calories will still add up!
DAY 30. Nutella Yogurt Fruit Dip
This one is a bit of a splurge when it comes to calories but a little goes a long way. You just need 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup of Nutella, mix together and you get a great dip! Crunchy fruits work best with this dip. Recipe here.
DAY 31. Parmesan Garlic Zucchini Chips
We’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve never been the type to eat veggies, you’d be clamouring all over these. These are crisp, cheesy and garlicky chips with a slight tang that will keep you hankering for more. This recipe uses a dehydrator but you can adapt the recipe for the oven with these directions.’
We hope these helped brighten your day! But before we say ciao, we’d like to remind you that moderation is key, and even healthy food can become unhealthy if you binge. Happy snacking!
Any great snack ideas to share? Comment below or leave us a note on our Facebook page!