With the new year approaching, many people are looking for healthy inspiration. Perhaps you’re even setting some New Year’s resolutions, or maybe you’re looking to make some real, lasting, healthy changes to your or your loved one’s routine. Regardless, you may be seeking some healthy snacks for older adults. And there are plenty to choose from!
Finding the right healthy snacks for you
Everyone has different tastes and preferences. So while you may want to substitute for all of the healthy snacks listed here, we’ll share a pro tip with you: Stick with the healthy snacks that you like most of all! If adding certain healthy snacks feels like a chore, or like you’re “choking” them down, you’re not going to stick with those healthy habits. In fact, you may even have a setback.
The most powerful way to make permanent, healthy changes is to find what you like! With that in mind, here are two ideas to help you build out that list of healthy snacks you like and can work into your permanent snack rotation (be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any health conditions or are on any medications):
1. Hummus with Veggies
We love this snack because it’s not only filling and nutritious, it can often be found at family gatherings and parties, instantly giving you a healthy option when you’re not at home.
Chickpeas are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with fiber and protein, plus vitamins like magnesium, calcium, and manganese for strong bones and choline for brain health. They’ve been shown to reduce your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and that is just to start!
Hummus is traditionally made with chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) and tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds - think peanut butter, but with sesame seeds instead of peanuts!), plus seasonings like paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and more. There are ENDLESS possibilities and options.
Just about every grocery store carries a range of hummus brands and flavors, and it’s super easy to make your own using a blender or food processor. Here’s a great starter hummus recipe that’s easy to help you get your feet wet. Then, you can branch-off and try other flavor combinations from there. Garlic, roasted red pepper, and dill are some popular options (and if you like spice, Buffalo Wing Hummus is a real treat - but still healthy!).
Although you can dip pretzels and tortilla chips into hummus, you can double up on the nutritional benefits by using celery, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes for dipping.
2. Dried Fruit and Nuts
One of the biggest challenges in prepackaged snacks is that they contain very little nutrients, and scarce protein and fiber – these are what keep you full and satisfied! By opting instead for healthier options that are packed with nutrition, and especially that protein and fiber, you fuel and nourish your body while keeping you satiated until your next mealtime.
For a snack that is both filling and power-packed, try making your own mixture of dried fruit and nuts. Compared to other snacks, this option tends to be higher in calories and fat, but these are primarily the “heart-healthy” fats so many of us are trying to add to our diets. Still, a small handful of nuts and dried fruit goes a long way! And if you’re watching calories, consider measuring out (or better yet, weighing on a food scale) your portions to be sure you don’t go overboard.
Walnuts are an especially powerful choice for snacking on nuts. They have higher antioxidant activity than any nut, which means they can help reduce the inflammation that contributes to many lifestyle diseases like heart disease and diabetes. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which can also help lower your risk of heart disease.
Although walnuts are quite potent, mixing in nuts like cashews, Brazil nuts, almonds, and seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more can help give you a range of vitamins and minerals that amp up the impact beyond the protein, fiber, and healthy fats you’ll find in nuts.
Dried fruit is a more concentrated source of sugar than fresh, but in moderation is a delicious and healthy snack. Dried apricots, raisins, and dates are some excellent choices rich in nutrients like folic acid, magnesium, fiber, potassium, and more. For an easy grab-and-go snack, toss some nuts and dried fruit together in small bags or bowls, so you have pre-portioned, nutrient-packed, filling snacks ready to go!
Looking for healthy meals and resort living for your retirement years?
Here at Winnwood Retirement Community, our residents enjoy gourmet meals in our fine dining area, plus so much more. From the activities and amenities that add value and joy to your life, to opportunities to make and meet friends new and old, there is so much opportunity that awaits you here. Enjoy stress-free living as a part of our community! To learn more, contact our team today.