A Dietitian Explains Why Meal Prepping Snacks Is So Essential — Plus, 5 Healthy Favorites
Meal prep isn't just a huge cost-saver, it can free up loads of time, too. (After all, who wants to cook every night?) And whether or not you've already gotten into the routine of strategizing your meals for the week ahead, you're likely not meal prepping your snacks yet — and you should be.
"Meal prepping snacks helps you not overeat or end up famished by mealtime, causing you to eat more than you normally would," Colleen Christensen, RDN, told POPSUGAR. "By having snacks at the ready, you're preventing yourself from getting overly hungry while nourishing your body with foods that feel good." The best part? Making snacks ahead of time is just as easy as prepping a week's worth of meals — even easier because you can make one or two snacks to recycle throughout the week. Try making a few of her go-to snacks here!
Crackers and Cottage Cheese
The combination of protein and carbs helps you stay full between meals, and the prep couldn't be easier. Just pre-portion crackers into reusable baggies and cottage cheese into a small container for a bite you can bring with you anywhere. And don't be afraid to get creative: swap crackers for rice crisps or dress up your spread with spinach or other veggies to pack in more flavor and nutrients. Here's a trick to keep your greens fresh all week long.
Protein-Packed Chocolate Bliss Balls
In just five minutes, you can have a snack that will come in clutch for curbing an afternoon sweet tooth. Combine dates, almond flour, protein powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, and water in a food processor. Then fold in puffed rice cereal for a rich, crunchy snack that's filled with healthy fats. Get the full recipe here.
"Every week I make a big batch of hard-boiled eggs in my Instant Pot," Christensen said. "Then I'll grab another portable item to go with it, like an apple." Dress your eggs up with any seasoning you'd like. (Her favorite is the Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's.) And if you don't have an Instant Pot, no problem — you can make the eggs on your stovetop, too.
The chickpeas in this dessert-style spread are packed with fiber, which helps you feel full while also being one of the best weight-loss secret weapons out there. Make this in 10 minutes by combining chickpeas, honey, cashew butter, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and a splash of milk in a food processor. Dip with fruit, whole grain crackers, or some pretzels for a sweet treat that's a healthy indulgence. Get the full recipe here.
DIY Popcorn Trail Mix
The special ingredient in this mix is popcorn, as it increases the fiber and can even trick your taste buds so that you feel more content after eating it. "Popcorn adds satisfaction and mindfulness to this snack because you have a different texture thrown in there, increasing the use of our senses," Christensen said. To make a trail mix that is both good for you and actually tastes good, combine two cups of plain popcorn with a cup each of pistachios, dark chocolate chips, and dried cherries. Parse out into baggies for the week so you don't mindlessly munch the entire bowl away in one sitting.