Satisfy Your Cravings With Healthy Carb SnacksDo healthy carb snacks really exist? Though unhealthy in excessive quantities, carbs are undeniably essential for proper body functioning. And while hardcore proponents of the keto diet might argue otherwise, a diet isn’t sustainable without a balanced, regular carb intake.
Maintaining a healthy diet requires an understanding of what makes some carbs healthy and others the exact opposite (Twinkies, we’re looking at you!). Snacks in particular are easy places to load up on healthy carbs — or accidentally kill your goals.
Read on to learn about what makes a healthy versus unhealthy carb and some of the best healthy carb snacks that will satisfy both your cravings and your goals.
What Is a Carb?
Carbs, or carbohydrates, are the type of macronutrient that our bodies break down into glucose for energy. Just like fire consumes wood and oxygen to burn, our bodies need glucose (from those carbs) to move — even our brains need carbs to think!
However, carbs also have a reputation as the nemesis of our diet goals. That same glucose that powers our minds can easily put pounds on our hips and waistlines. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “too much of a good thing” — and that could’ve been written about carbs.
Weight gain comes from an excess of energy-dense carbs. Designed to protect you, when your body isn’t active enough to consume the glucose, it kindly converts that glucose into a handy storage mechanism: fat.
The key to making sure that your carbs help, not hinder, you is controlling the types of carbs you consume and the quantities in which you consume them. Healthy carb snacks need to be high-quality carb snacks. As Harvard reminds us, carb quality matters.
What Are Healthy Carbs?
Carb quality can be split into two categories: simple and complex. Simple carbs hide where you might usually think to find carbs: sugar, syrups, candy. “Quick energy.” They’re quickly broken down by the body and often produce a “spike” (and subsequent crash) in energy.
Complex carbs are found in vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans. Ever heard of fiber? Starch? Surprise: they’re carbs — and healthy ones, at that. Complex carbs take much longer for your body to break down — no spike-and-crash situation here.
And although simple carbs aren’t inherently bad (think: dairy), they shouldn’t compose a large portion of your diet. Instead, aim for healthy carb snacks that will provide you lasting energy. Complex carbs are what are going to fuel your mind and your body through whatever challenges your day has to present.
10 Healthy Carb Snacks
Good healthy carb snacks need to do two things: please your taste buds and nourish your body. Without both of those components, your carb cravings aren’t going anywhere. Ideally, healthy carb snacks will also have some protein to help fuel your body.
These 10 healthy carb snacks are satisfying and healthy to get you fueled up and ready to go.
- Fruit with nut butter. The creative possibilities here are virtually endless. Fruits provide the base for a snack that’s balanced with fiber, while nut butters provide healthy fats and protein to boost your energy for longer. Try apples, bananas, or pears with almond or peanut butter.
- Whole grain, low-sugar cereal. Yes, we did just say that breakfast cereal isn’t ideal — at least, not traditional breakfast cereal. Swap the Frosted Flakes for an option that’s low in sugar and whole grain-based — we like the Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Cereal.
Low-sugar granola bar. Granola bars are traditionally based on oats, which are one of the healthiest carbs around. A good granola bar is lightly sweet and heavily satisfying. Look for a bar with nuts to add some healthy fats and extra protein.
Yogurt and granola. Another iteration of granola, a Greek yogurt and granola parfait is a perfect solution to an afternoon sugar craving. Sweeten it lightly with some raw, local honey for a perfect cocktail of complex carbs and lean protein.
Trail mix. Shop carefully for trail mix. While it can be one of the best healthy carb snacks, it can also be one of the worst. Look for one that’s low on added chocolates and sugars, uses raw nuts, and supplements with a natural granola or puffed grain.
- Whole grain toast. It’s versatile, it’s quick, it’s delicious. And, it’s healthy. Toast a piece of whole grain bread and top liberally — we like ricotta with a dash of honey, Greek yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and some berries, or just good ol’ peanut butter.
- Oat cakes. These are a great way to cut some calories but keep the deliciousness of toast. Top your oat cakes the same way you’d top a slice of toast. Feeling savory? Try guacamole, a soft-boiled egg, or low-fat mozzarella with some hot sauce.
Protein-boosted goodies. This one requires a bit more effort, but it’s worth the payoff. Remember all those protein powder goodies you’ve seen fitness influencers post? Maybe it’s time you tried making one. Protein powder is an easy way to add some oomph to a brownie, turning a dessert into a diet tool.
- Roasted chickpeas. They’re simple, they’re snackable, and they’re super healthy. Packed naturally with complex carbs and protein, chickpeas are a great addition to any meal plan. Toss them with olive oil and your favorite spices, then bake until crispy. Enjoy alone or sprinkled over a salad.
- Outstanding Puffs. There’s nothing like a crunchy snack to scratch that savory itch. Fortunately, Outstanding Puffs are packed with plant-based protein and essential vitamins. And they’re yummy enough that if you didn’t know they were healthy, you’d think it was cheat day.
At Outstanding Foods, we get that eating healthy isn’t always the easiest option — and that’s why we’re here to help. We’re dedicated to making it easier for you to access plant-based, healthy carb snacks that are good for both you and the planet.