If you’re like most people, spending more time at home means you’re also spending more time in front of screens. And what do your TV, tablet, and phone have in common? They all tend to make us pretty hungry.
Think about it: When you curl up on the couch for the night, settle in, get all comfortable… what’s your first thought after a couple of minutes? “I should get some snacks,” right?
It could be those cookies you’ve been avoiding all day or that chocolate candy bar you forgot all about. Maybe there’s a pastry you absolutely love and got as a splurge the other day.
And that’s all good and fun, but what happens when you overdo it? You know, when you just need to have more than one or two cookies, and you find yourself demolishing an entire box?
Well, that’s when our good old friend “balance” comes in. Turns out, there’s nothing wrong with the cookies, or with you ― you’re just restricting so much on these foods that once you cave, you can’t stop.
Likewise, it’s complicated the other way around. If all you do is eat junk, weight gain is a thing, sure. But more than that, it really affects other areas of life, like mental clarity, sleep quality, or work progress.
So to make it easy, we’ve lined up some healthy snack alternatives you’ll love. Think of these as just loose ideas, customizable to your liking and nutritional needs. Just remember, eating those chips or candy bars is also a smart idea. Balance and all!
Ah, yes, banana splits. The perfectly sliced banana, the delicious ice cream base, the luxurious toppings ― nothing can beat it.
But if you’re looking for a healthier take, then there are some options. For example, there are now a variety of vegan, non-dairy ice creams available, prepackaged in the frozen section of most grocery stores. Halo Top has a few, and even Ben & Jerry’s has jumped on the bandwagon.
Another option is to swap out the ice cream altogether and use yogurt instead. It’s a more tangy flavor, obviously, so many people swear by things like honey to sweeten things up a bit.
Additional tips: Use healthy toppings like fresh fruit (cherries, peaches, raspberries), or cacao nibs in place of chocolate.
Everyone loves fries, right? They’re hard to top, so it’s best not to try, but that being said… if you can stick with realistic expectations, then zucchini fries are for you. These delicious fries are coated in egg, then tossed in cheese and panko bread crumbs, before being baked either in the oven or air fryer.
Dip them in some marinara, make an aioli, or just pull out the ranch. You can’t really go wrong, as long as you don’t expect them to taste like the real deal.
PB & J Apples
For our final healthy snack swap, we have another sweet idea: peanut butter and jelly apples. Think of them as mini PB & J sandwiches, but with apple slices instead of the bread. Fewer carbs, sure, but also if you opt for quality peanut butter and jelly, you can really satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard.
You get the protein and healthy fats from the peanut butter, as well as the natural sugars from the fruit. Just pay attention to the label. Most jellies have added sugar, but premium alternatives tend to limit or omit that altogether.
And they’re easy to make ― just top some apple slices with your peanut butter and jelly like you would a slice of bread, and then close it. Be careful not to press too hard, or else everything starts to slide around a bit.
Pro tip: Make sure your jelly is cold. If it’s not, or your peanut butter isn’t being too nice, go ahead and make these ahead of time, and pop them in your fridge for a solid 30 minutes. Just squeeze a little lemon on the apple slices first so they don’t go brown.
— By Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a content creator and Lynnwood resident who specializes in copy, graphic design and photography for her clients. Whenever she’s not creating something, she’s exploring new places to eat in the area.