You find yourself craving something crunchy and satisfying, but you don’t want to reach for unhealthy chips or fried snacks from the store. You’re wondering if healthy crunchy snacks for weight loss really exist and whether you can make them at home. The good news is that there are plenty of healthy, crunchy snacks that you can make at home with wholesome ingredients. In addition to satiating your craving and filling you up, these recipes provide essential nutrients and vitamins that are good for your overall health. We’ve also included some info on why craving crunchy snacks is so common and how you can make it work for your diet.
Why Am I Craving Crunchy Snacks?
A common misconception about cravings is that they indicate a nutrient deficiency. While this may be the case in some situations, many cravings are just a result of physical and mental stress, habit, and the desire for something comforting.
Here are some reasons why you may be craving crunchy snacks (12, 4):
- Hormonal imbalances – leptin and ghrelin (hormones that regulate hunger and satiety) can be disrupted during certain times of the month, leading to cravings.
- Sleep deprivation – not getting enough sleep can disturb the levels of hormones that control appetite, leading to cravings for comfort foods.
- Stress – stress can cause an increase in cortisol levels which can trigger cravings for calorie-dense, crunchy snacks.
- Habits – it’s easy to form habits when it comes to snacking and if you frequently reach for crunchy snacks, it can become a habit.
- Boredom – when you’re bored, it can be tempting to munch on crunchy snacks to occupy your time.
- Lack of satisfaction – when you eat foods that are low in protein and fiber, you may find yourself reaching for more crunchy snacks to fill the void.
- Lack of hydration – when you’ve been dehydrated, it can be common to crave salty crunchy foods as they help to balance salt levels in your body.
- Imbalance in gut bacteria – certain bacteria in the gut can prompt cravings for crunchy snacks. More research is needed to understand how this works.
- PMS – for some women, craving crunchy snacks before or during the menstrual cycle is common. This is often due to hormonal shifts that cause cravings.
- Pregnancy – pregnant women may crave crunchy snacks due to hormonal shifts and an increase in appetite.
Ultimately, understanding why you’re craving something is the first step in determining how to satisfy it healthily. Read on for 12 crunchy snack recipes that are both healthy and delicious.
Read More: 7 Surprisingly Simple Yet Satisfying Vegan Gluten-Free Snacks For On-The-Go Convenience
What Are Healthy Crunchy Snacks?
Healthy crunchy snacks are those that provide a satisfying crunch with wholesome ingredients. They share the following qualities:
- Low in added sugars and fats
- High in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals
- Low or no processed ingredients
- Full of natural flavors, spices, and herbs
- Cooked with healthier fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
- Cooked with natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, and dates
- Made with whole food ingredients such as nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables,
- Cooked with methods such as baking, roasting, and air-frying that minimize unhealthy oils
Why Healthy Snacks Are Important
We’ve determined that nutritional deficiencies aren’t always to blame for cravings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the opportunity to get extra nutrition.
Healthy snacks are important because (9, 13):
- They provide essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for energy production, maintaining a healthy immune system, and overall health.
- They can help keep your blood sugar levels stable, reducing cravings for unhealthy snacks.
- Healthy snacks are usually low in calories and fat, helping you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.
- Eating healthy snacks can help prevent overeating at meals. You won’t be starving at meal time and will be more likely to make better choices.
- Healthy snacks contain plenty of fiber, which helps to keep you full and satisfied for longer periods of time. Fiber also improves digestion and gut health.
How Many Healthy Snacks A Day?
The number of snacks you should have in a day depends on your individual needs and goals. Everyone has a recommended daily calorie intake and the snacks you choose should fit within that.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then it’s recommended to aim for two or three small healthy snacks per day that are 150-200 calories each. If you’re looking to increase your energy, then aim for three or four snacks of 200-250 calories each.
Remember that the purpose of healthy snacking is to provide energy, nutrition, and satisfaction without adding too many extra calories.
Betterme will keep you laser-focused on your weight loss journey! Nutrient-packed meal plans, fat-blasting workouts, galvanizing challenges and much more. Try using the app and see for yourself!
How To Make Healthy Crunchy Snacks
Making your own healthy crunchy snacks at home is a great way to ensure that you are getting the nutrition and satisfaction you need. Here are some tips to make healthy crunchy snacks:
- Choose naturally crunchy ingredients – Use whole food ingredients such as nuts, seeds, and legumes that provide a crunchy texture.
- Choose a cooking method that removes heat – Roasting, baking, and air-frying are all good options as they don’t rely on unhealthy fats.
- Dehydrate if needed – Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is a great way to make them crunchy without the use of oil.
- Experiment with spices and herbs – Natural spices and herbs add flavor to your snacks without adding calories.
- Add zip with citrus or vinegar – Citrus juice, zest, and vinegar all add a bright flavor to snacks.
- Add sweetness with natural sweeteners – Natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, and dates are healthier alternatives to refined sugar.
12 Healthy Crunchy Snack Recipes
Below are 12 delicious and healthy crunchy snack recipes that you can make at home. We’ll discuss their nutritional content, what makes them good snacks, and the different ways you can amplify their crunch and flavor:
1. Baked Kale Chips With Sea Salt
Kale is a superfood packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s especially high in vitamin K and A, and is a good source of fiber (3).
Baking kale in the oven is an easy way to make a crunchy snack that’s low in calories.
Sea salt adds a savory flavor and helps to keep the chips crispy. You can elevate the flavor of the chips by adding garlic, onion powder, or smoked paprika. Make a big batch to have on hand for snacking throughout the week.
2. Air-Fried Zucchini Fries With Parmesan
Zucchini fries are a healthier alternative to traditional french fries. They provide plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. They’re particularly good sources of vitamin C and A. Air-frying is a healthier cooking method that doesn’t require the use of oil (8).
It’s also quick and easy. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the fries for extra flavor and crunch. Serve with a dip such as hummus or yogurt for added nutrition.
3. Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They also provide vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and iron (1).
Roasting almonds in the oven gives them a delicious crunch and flavor. Cinnamon adds sweetness and spices up the snack.
It’s easy to make a big batch of roasted almonds and store them in an airtight container for later. Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or add to your favorite recipes.
Be careful while snacking on nuts; they may have a high calorie content, so it’s best to enjoy them in moderation.
4. Air-Popped Popcorn With Nutritional Yeast
Popcorn is a whole grain that’s naturally low in calories. It provides fiber, as well as some vitamins and minerals.
Air-popping popcorn is a healthier alternative to microwave popcorn, as it doesn’t contain added fats or chemicals. You don’t need to add oil or butter; simply sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top for a savory, cheesy flavor.
You’ll need an air-popper or stove-top popper to make this snack.
You can improvise in a few steps:
- Preheat a nonstick pot with a tight lid on the stove, add a few drops of water and wait for it to sizzle, then add the kernels.
- Put the lid on and reduce the heat. The popcorn will start popping soon!
Read More: Slim Down with Sour Snacks: Are Pickles Good for Weight Loss?
5. Crispy Chickpeas With Smoked Paprika
Chickpeas are a great vegan protein source, as well as a good source of fiber. They provide vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc (10).
They can be made into a delicious crunchy snack by roasting them in the oven:
- First, drain and rinse the chickpeas and dry them off with a towel.
- Spread out on an oven tray, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika.
- Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Enjoy warm or store in an airtight container for later.
These crispy chickpeas can also be spiced up by adding garlic powder, onion powder, or your favorite herbs and spices.
6. Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A. The orange variety is especially high in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant (11).
To make sweet potato chips:
- Peel and slice the potatoes into thin rounds and spray with olive oil.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Sprinkle it with sea salt and enjoy.
The flavor options are endless; you can also add garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika, or your favorite herbs and spices. You can make them sweet by adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or top with homemade guacamole.
7. Homemade Trail Mix
Trail mix is a great snack to take with you on the go. It’s easy to customize according to your preferences and taste.
It can be high in sugar, fat and calories, depending on how much chocolate, nuts and dried fruit you add. Choose healthy ingredients, such as raw almonds, walnuts or pistachios, unsweetened coconut, dried apricots, and dark chocolate chips.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and store in an airtight container for later. Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or add to your favorite yogurt, oatmeal or smoothie bowl.
8. Radish Chips
Radishes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium (7).
These crunchy, slightly spicy vegetables can be made into a delicious snack:
- Start by slicing the radishes thinly and laying them out on an oven tray lined with parchment paper.
- Spray with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, or your favorite herbs and spices.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or add to salads and sandwiches.
9. Apple Slices With Almond Butter
Apples are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium. They’re also rich in fiber, which can help fill you up (2).
Slice an apple and spread a tablespoon of almond butter on top for some extra protein and healthy fats.
Sprinkle with cinnamon for a sweet flavor or top with unsweetened shredded coconut for a more tropical taste. Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or add to yogurt or oatmeal.
BetterMe app will kick you out of the mental funk, shake off your extra weight, rid you off your energy-zapping habits, and help you sculpt the body of your dreams. Intrigued? Hurry up and change your life for the better!
10. Roasted Edamame
Edamame is a great vegan protein source and they’re also high in fiber. Originally from Asia, edamame are young soybeans in their pods (5). They are usually boiled but can also be roasted for a delicious, crunchy snack.
To make them:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and de-shell the edamame.
- Spread the beans on an oven tray, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or your favorite herbs and spices.
- Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Roasted edamame goes particularly well with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or use top salads and stir fries.
11. Chilli Cucumber Slices
Cucumbers are a good source of fiber and vitamins, including vitamin K (6). Their cooling, hydrating properties make them a great snack.
To make chili cucumber slices, peel the cucumber and slice into round discs. Sprinkle it with sea salt and chili flakes. Enjoy as a stand-alone snack or add to salads, sandwiches and wraps.
A more Asian-influenced approach is to add a tablespoon of tamari, a teaspoon of sesame oil and some freshly grated ginger. Enjoy as an afternoon snack or as part of your lunch.
12. Cauliflower Popcorn
Cauliflower is a healthy, low-carb vegetable that can be transformed into delicious snacks.
To make cauliflower popcorn:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and cut a head of cauliflower into small florets.
- Spread out on an oven tray lined with parchment paper, spray with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
You can give these a cheesy flavor by adding a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes or a kick of spiciness by adding chili powder.
The Bottom Line
Healthy crunchy snacks can be just as delicious as processed junk food. Choose whole, unprocessed ingredients and use herbs, spices and sauces to add flavor.
Each of these snacks is packed with vitamins, minerals and protein to keep you full and energized. Enjoy them as a stand-alone snack or pair with other foods for a wholesome meal.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Almonds (Prunus Dulcis Mill. D. A. Webb): A Source of Nutrients and Health-Promoting Compounds (2020, nih.gov)
- Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits (2004, ni.gov)
- Awareness, Knowledge and Attitude towards ‘Superfood’ Kale and Its Health Benefits among Arab Adults (2022, nih.gov)
- Cravings (2021, harvard.edu)
- Editorial: Everything edamame: Biology, production, nutrition, sensory and economics (2022, nih.gov)
- Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber (2013, pubmed.gov)
- Radish (Raphanus sativus) and Diabetes (2017, mdpi.com)
- Role of Zucchini and Its Distinctive Components in the Modulation of Degenerative Processes: Genotoxicity, Anti-Genotoxicity, Cytotoxicity and Apoptotic Effects (2017, nih.gov)
- The Benefits to Healthy Snacks (n.d., bvhealthsystem.org)
- The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus (2016, nih.gov)
- The Potential of Sweetpotato as a Functional Food in Sub-Saharan Africa and Its Implications for Health: A Review (2021, nih.gov)
- The Psychology of Food Cravings: the Role of Food Deprivation (2020, nih.gov)
- The Science of Snacking (2021, harvard.edu)