[picture from AllYou]
One of the most expensive food "groups" can also be one of
the least healthy: snacks. In fact, the parentheses around "groups" weren't a
mistake. Snacks – at least the way that most of us eat them – not only aren't a
real group, many of them don't really fall into any useful food category!
So, how can you find snacks that are healthy, filling, and
delicious without breaking the bank? Read on.
A bag or
can of nuts may not seem cheap at first glance (often they range from $4-$8),
but think about this: nuts are not only quite healthy, but very filling. That
$6 you spend (we're averaging) is likely to last you at least a few weeks, if
on the time of year and where you shop, fresh fruits are not always cheap. It's
still a great snack option, especially if you head to a less expensive farmer's
market or just buy in-season from your supermarket, but if fresh is burning too
big of a whole in your wallet, go for dried fruits. Often they are super sweet
and delicious, which can make them a nice stand-in if you're craving something
sugary. Like nuts, these can initially seem pricey, but one container of dried
fruits can last quite a while. Plus, a serving of dried fruit can often be far
more nutrient-rich than a single fruit without filling you up as much or
weighing you down with excessive calories.Spread it out.
The various nut butters out there (peanut, almond, etc.) can be a great snack
for a number of reasons. First, a jar will most likely last you through
numerous snack attacks, so the few bucks you pay for it will more than pay off.
Second, peanut and almond butters are quite filling, so a relatively small
amount will curb your appetite. Lastly, nut butters are chock full of vitamins
and things your body needs.Don't get chippy.
Let's be frank: most chips are awful snack foods – at least in terms of cost
and health benefits. They're all salt and oil. Unfortunately, they are also
delicious, and every once in a while, a bag of chips is just what you want. The
next time this happens to you, though, don't just go for the same old bag
you're used to – try the baked variety. They're far healthier, and many people
find them just as delicious, if slightly different. Other chip-like options
that tend to be healthier and cheaper include pretzels and popcorn.Veg out.
carrots and other veggies are great snacks. Obviously they are quite healthy,
but most cost relatively little for the amount of snacking you'll get out of
them. And if you just can't do plain veggies as a snack, consider a healthy
dipping option like hummus or even salsa.