Struggling with Snack Cravings Even on a Clean Eating Plan? Try This

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain energy, or simply feel your best, sticking to a clean eating regimen can provide many benefits. However, one of the biggest challenges is fighting constant snack cravings throughout the day. With so many tempting processed options available at every turn, it’s easy to stray from your healthy eating goals.

The good news is that you don’t have to deprive yourself or feel restricted when snacking. There are plenty of nourishing whole foods that can satisfy hunger between meals. This article will explore some satisfying snack ideas that align with the principles of clean eating. With the right combinations of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, you can successfully curb cravings and stay on track.

1) Fruit with Nut Butter:

One of the easiest and most convenient clean-eating snacks is pairing fruit with nut butter. Not only does this combination taste great, but it also provides beneficial nutrients to fuel your body. Some favorite fruit and nut butter combos to try include:

  • Apples or pears with almond or cashew butter: Spread 2 tablespoons of nut butter on a sliced apple or pear for about 170 calories. Almond butter provides healthy fats and nutrients like vitamin E, while pears and apples offer fiber and antioxidants.
  • Bananas with peanut butter: Slice a medium banana (about 105 calories) and top with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (about 95 calories) for a 200-calorie snack packed with potassium, vitamin B6, and plant-based protein.
  • Berries with sunflower seed butter: Top a half cup of blueberries or strawberries (about 30 calories) with 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter (about 90 calories) for just 120 calories. Sunflower seed butter has a mild flavor and provides magnesium, vitamin E, and heart-healthy fat.
Fruit with Nut Butter

You can also get creative by experimenting with different fruits and nut butter depending on what’s in season or your personal preferences. Adding nuts or seeds for extra crunch provides even more nutrients. Overall, fruit and nut butter combinations are super portable, versatile snacks that nourish your body between meals.

2) Homemade Energy Balls:

Another clean-eating snack idea that provides sustained energy is homemade energy balls. By using nut butter, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, and sometimes honey or maple syrup, energy balls pack a nutritional punch in each bite. Some popular recipes to try include:

  • Date and nut butter energy balls: These balls are made simply from dates, nut or seed butter, and oats. Using 2 cups of Medjool dates (about 260 calories), 1/2 cup nut butter of choice (about 330 calories), and 3/4 cup rolled oats (about 150 calories), you can make 12-14 energy balls for around 100 calories each. The sweetness from the dates and the creaminess of the nut butter make these very satisfying.
  • Coconut and chocolate energy balls: For chocolate lovers, combining shredded coconut, cashew or almond butter, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla in a food processor makes perfectly portioned chocolatey treats. With 1 cup cashews (about 800 calories), 1 cup shredded coconut (about 570 calories), 1/3 cup cocoa powder (about 103 calories), 1/4 cup honey (about 195 calories), and vanilla to taste, you can portion the mixture into 12 balls of approximately 110 calories each. These balls hit the spot between meals.
  • Pumpkin seed butter balls: For a savory variation, switch out nut butter for pumpkin seed butter in energy balls. Blend pumpkin seed butter, rolled oats, shredded coconut, and dried thyme or sage. Roll into 1-2 tablespoon balls containing 40-80 calories, depending on size. The pumpkin seed butter provides health benefits like zinc, magnesium, and plant-based protein.

Homemade energy balls are a fun way to curb snack cravings. Varying the ingredients ensures your body gets different nutrients and flavor profiles. Plus, you control exactly what goes into them.

3) Veggie Platters with Hummus or Guacamole:

Another excellent clean-eating snack that’s versatile is creating veggie platters paired with healthy dips.

Veggie Platters with Hummus

Not only are vegetables low in calories and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but dipping them in hummus, guacamole, or yogurt-based dips makes for a more satisfying snack experience. Some ideas to try include:

  • Classic veggie platter: Carrots, celery, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and broccoli or cauliflower florets serve as the base for 1/2 cup hummus (about 230 calories). You can easily munch on this platter for 2-3 hours to curb cravings.
  • Southwest platter: Sliced jicama, carrots, radishes, bell peppers, zucchini, and sugar snap peas pair perfectly with 1/2 cup guacamole (about 195 calories). Guacamole is high in heart-healthy fats and nutrients like vitamins C and K.
  • Garden rainbow platter: Select a variety of colorfully sliced vegetables like radishes, beets, purple cabbage, yellow squash, swiss chard stems, and cherry tomatoes. Enjoy with 1/2 cup herbed goat cheese or Greek yogurt-based dip (about 100-150 calories, depending on the recipe).

The key is selecting an array of raw veggies in different shapes, colors, and flavors. Having low-calorie crunchy veggies to dip means you can satisfy your appetite without overindulging in calories or feeling weighed down. Make large platters on Sundays to grab and go all week.

4) Protein-Packed Snack Combos:

When cravings strike in the afternoon, heading them off at the pass with protein-rich snacks can make all the difference in staying on your clean eating plan. Some satisfying high-protein snack combos to try include:

  • Hard-boiled eggs and nut mix: Hard boil 4-6 eggs ahead of time for easy grabbing. Pair with 1/4 cup of your favorite nut or seed mix such as almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (about 170 calories). The protein and healthy fats in this combo will sustain you for hours.
  • Greek yogurt and granola parfait: Layer 1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt (about 80 calories) with 2-3 tablespoons homemade healthy granola and 1/4 cup fresh berries (about 120 calories total). Homemade granola with oats, nuts, coconut, and spices is much healthier than store-bought options.
  • Salmon or tuna salad roll-ups: Spread 2-3 tablespoons of salmon or tuna salad made with light mayo onto a large romaine lettuce leaf for about 70 calories. Roll up and enjoy for an easy, clean eating snack that’s high in omega-3s.
  • Cottage cheese and nuts: 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese mixed with 1-2 tablespoons chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds (about 110 calories) provides filling animal-based protein your body can use for energy.

Focusing on snacking around protein-rich whole foods helps curb hunger more effectively until your next meal. Small amounts of healthy fats and complex carbs round out the nutrients without adding excess calories.

5) Ants on a Log:

Sometimes the most nostalgic clean eating snacks from childhood are also the most wholesome. “Ants on a log” is an beloved classic that’s also nutritious. With just three minimally processed ingredients, it comes together in minutes for under 200 calories:

  • Start with celery sticks (about 5 calories each) and spread 1-2 teaspoons of nut or seed butter down the center crevice.
  • Top with raisins to resemble “ants” crawling along the log.
  • For around 150 calories, enjoy 3 celery sticks topped this way.
Ants on a Log

Using almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter provides healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Raisins are nature’s candy with iron, fiber, and natural sugars. The crunch from celery adds volume without calories. Kids and adults alike love this fun yet nutritious snack that’s easy to prepare ahead. Feel free to get wild by substituting peanut, pecan, or pumpkin seed butter, depending on preference or what you have on hand.

6) Crispy Kale Chips:

One household snack that fits perfectly into a clean eating approach is homemade kale chips. By tossing kale leaves with a touch of olive oil and roasting them until crispy, you transform a leafy green into an addictive crunch. Plus, kale chips pack a serious nutritional punch with very few calories:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Tear/cut kale leaves from stems into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil and massage with hands to coat leaves evenly without leaving a puddle at the bottom.
  • Arrange leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt or Italian seasoning if desired.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheet and bake another 5-7 minutes until the kale is deep green and crispy.
  • Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. A whole sheet yields about 1-1/2 cups of kale chips containing under 150 calories.

Homemade kale chips satisfy cravings without guilt. Their crispy texture makes them perfect for dipping in nut butter, guacamole, or yogurt.

Final Words:

In conclusion, making simple swaps to incorporate more whole foods into your snacking routine is key to curbing cravings on a clean eating plan. With some preparation and variety, you can satisfy hunger pangs nutritiously through balanced mini-meals between regular meals. Sticking to mostly clean options while allowing an occasional treat ensures long-term success.

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