Addicted to snacking? Healthy swaps for your favorite indulgences

The holiday season is here, and that means eating all that we can without limits. One of the best side effects of the holidays is the endless amount of food that comes with it. From Christmas to Hanukkah, the wintertime means coming together and what better way to celebrate than around the table enjoying a turkey or pie? But excessive food always comes with a cost, one that comes at the waistline. 

Although the holidays are meant for enjoying food and company, there are healthier alternatives for unhealthy snacks. Snacks are as much a part of college as exams are, but the constant worry of the freshman — or sophomore, junior or senior — 15 only adds unnecessary stress. 

Instead of eating like you are going into hibernation this winter, try out the healthy alternatives below, enjoy the holiday season while it lasts and try not to worry about the end results. 

Vegetables with Hummus

Veggies and hummus make for the perfect healthy snack. Not only does the crunch help keep you alert through the studying slump, but the combination of fiber and protein is sure to keep your stomach satisfied until dinnertime. There are plenty of hummus brands to choose from to ensure your snack remains diet-friendly.  

Yogurt Parfait 

Mixing together fresh ingredients such as fruits and grains can turn a simple plain yogurt into something much more enjoyable. A few favorite yogurts we recommend are Siggi’s, Chobani and Maple Hill Creamery. Trending nowadays are healthy fruit bowls. By creating your own, you can add fresh fruits, nuts and honey to any parfait you want to make. 

Kale Chips

This is one of the easiest recipes in the world, including only fresh kale, olive oil and the optional sprinkle of salt and pepper for taste. Kale chips are a great alternative to those boring, greasy potato chips. While potato chips and Doritos are typical for a game day or movie night, if you are looking to switch it up, kale chips provide lots of protein in small bites. To prepare, bake the kale for 5 to 10 minutes at 375 degrees. 

Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower 

If you are a fan of buffalo chicken wings and you like cauliflower, then this is the best alternative snack. Simply preheat your oven to 425 degrees, toss cauliflower florets on a baking sheet with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Then, roast the florets for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing throughout. Roasted cauliflower is one of the most addictive healthy snacks around and it only gets better when coated in buffalo hot sauce. This spicy treat is a perfect option for a lighter and healthier snack for a party or just around the house. 

Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles)

Everyone loves carbs and it is extremely hard to resist a classic dish of homemade spaghetti and meatballs. But, it is not fun when pasta is the only carb that you constantly go to. Instead, zucchini noodles are a great gluten-free and low-carb option, also packed with fiber and many vitamins. Zucchini noodles are extremely flexible and can be used in salads and as an alternative to pasta. 

Peanut Butter Breakfast Bites

Looking for a snack that you can eat in the morning? Perfect for a quick baking session on Sunday night, these treats can help satisfy your sweet tooth and still provide you with a healthy breakfast on the go. With only a few ingredients including peanut butter whole grain Cheerios, natural peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract, these bites are sure to keep you full until lunchtime. Mixing a cup of peanut butter, half a cup of honey and a teaspoon of vanilla extract into a bowl and warming it up for 30 seconds will yield a warm mixture to coat the Cheerios with. After mixing the wet and dry ingredients, spoon out portions onto wax paper and let them sit for 3 hours.

Roasted Chickpeas

Salty, crunchy, spicy and healthy — the only ingredients you need for this snack are chickpeas (canned or home-boiled), olive oil and optional spices. Bake these in your oven at 230 degrees. Similar to roasted chestnuts, chickpeas are a great alternative to those salty cravings. By leaning toward the healthier option instead of pretzels, your body will thank you later. 

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