Chocolate Cinnamon Popcorn Snack Mix and Dietitian Approved Snacks

Many healthy people I know will never leave the house without a nutritious snack tucked into their bags. In fact, take a look around a classroom full of nutrition students and you can guarantee that half of them are snacking as they listen to the lecture.

Why? Because healthy eaters know the benefits of snacking:

  • Snacks keep us satisfied throughout the day so we avoid overeating at meals.
  • They provide a great opportunity to include foods from certain food groups that we may struggle to get at meals (like fruit or dairy).
  • Fuel workouts and recovery.

The downside of snacking is that in can lead to weight gain if you are adding more calories than you need to your diet. To avoid this, follow these simple rules.

  • Only eat a snack if you feel hungry. Avoid mindless munching by stopping before you reach for your snack and asking yourself if you are actually hungry. Likewise, let’s say you have dinner plans with a friend at a time that is later than you usually eat dinner (9 o’clock, for example); you should have a well balanced snack at around 6pm so you are not ravenous by the time dinner comes.
  • Make smart choices. The word snacking often brings to mind nutritionally empty foods, like cookies or chips. These delicious foods can be part of a healthy diet, but only when consumed as the occasional treat. Your daily snacks should be as nutritious as possible.
  • Learn how to build a nutritious snack. Everyone’s caloric needs are different, but in general, your snacks should be under 200 calories and combine complex carbohydrates or fruit (like whole grain crackers or an apple), with protein (hard boiled egg or low fat cheese) and a healthy fat (nuts, avocado).
  • Make it easy on yourself. Every Monday, I portion out my snacks for the week, so all I have to do is throw them in my bag.

One of my favorite registered dietitians, Sara Haas, published The Stop Sloppy Snacking Series which provides several examples of healthy snacks under 200 calories. I guarantee that some of those snacks will enter your repertoire. For more information about snacking read this great piece from Today’s Dietitian.

Here is a round up of snack recipes developed by a few of my favorite dietitians.

Spicy 4 Seed Gingerbread Bites from Heather Goesch Nutrition.

Lentil Dip with Tahini and Lemon from Elena Paravantes, RDN

Banana Oat Bars with Dark Chocolate Drizzle from Dietitian Debbie

Mango Ginger Turmeric Smoothie from The Lively Table

And of course, you must try my Chocolate Cinnamon Popcorn Mix! Recipe below.

Print Recipe
Chocolate Cinnamon Popcorn Snack Mix
Sweet, crunchy, nutty and tart: what more could you need? This is a healthful snack that you will have on repeat.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
1/3 cup
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
1/3 cup
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine popcorn, peanuts and cranberries.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, add butter. Gently stir butter until it melts.
  3. Once the butter is foamy, add the salt, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir together over low heat until combined.
  4. Pour butter mixture over popcorn mixture and stir until well coated. You may need to use your hands!
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