Catching up on a TV series you want to finish before the next season starts? Or just vegging out on your favorite movie series? Binge-watching is actually how the majority of people watch TV these days. According to Netflix, 61 percent of viewers binge-watch regularly by packing 2–3 episodes (or more!) into one sitting. While this may not be surprising, what might be shocking is how many calories can be consumed in those few hours.
Even if you are aware that mindless snacking might not be the best habit for your health, most of us aren’t going to avoid eating in front of the TV, especially if it’s dinner time or the munchies strike in the middle of an episode. The reality is we aren’t pressing pause during dinner at the table or to savor a snack. So if you have a weekend of binge-watching on the schedule and find yourself hankering for something to munch on, we’ve got your snacks covered.
Here’s a list of healthier snacks you can enjoy and not feel guilty about while binge-watching that show everyone is talking about.
CRAVING SOMETHING SALTY?
This is a low-calorie, high-fiber, whole-grain snack that fills you up and satisfies that salty, crunchy craving. What do we love most about popcorn? It’s a volume food — meaning you can eat a bunch of it for only a few calories. You can air-pop it and add some light butter or pop pre-made, single-serving bags to keep portions in check. Love snacking on trail mix? Toss with a bag of popcorn to create more snack volume, stretch your trail mix and hopefully fill you up on less calories.
Known as the “fit and skinny nut,” pistachios have about 100 calories for 30 nuts and are a good source of protein, fiber and healthy fat, making them a balanced and smart snack. Pistachios in the shell also help with mindfulness because you have to “work” for your food by cracking open each shell — which also leaves behind a trail of evidence of how many you’ve eaten.
CRISPY ROASTED CHICKPEAS OR WASABI PEAS
These crunchy, protein- and fiber-packed snacks are similar to munching on nuts, yet lower in calories. These snacks can be found with other dehydrated snacks in your grocery store, and they are also easy to make at home. Chickpeas take on any flavor you mix them with, so you can cater the snack to your own preferences. Bake seasoned chickpeas coated in a little cooking spray at 450°F for about 10 minutes until crispy. If you buy pre-packaged snacks, be sure to check nutrition labels to keep oil and added sugar to a minimum.
STEAMED EDAMAME IN THE POD
Edamame is not only rich in protein and fiber, but it also contains a good dose of antioxidants. You can purchase edamame in the freezer section in steamer bags for a quick-and-easy snack. Plus, edamame in the pods make a fun finger food for TV-watching.
JUST DIP IT
Bean dips, like this Lucky Cowboy Caviar, are a great way to get in your daily dose of pulses. It’s recommended we consume 1/2 cup of beans per day to help us reach our fiber goals. Pulses are also an awesome source of vegetarian protein, iron, folate and potassium.
Fresh fruit dunked into Caramel Apple Cheesecake Dip or dairy-free Strawberry Cheesecake Dip both make a crave-worthy snack. Fresh fruit such as sliced apples, pears, berries, mango, pineapple and oranges add variety and color, contributing unique vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we likely could all use a little more of in our diets.
Try this delicious Healthy French Onion Dip, served with crudités. Mix together Greek yogurt, shredded zucchini and French onion seasonings, and serve it with your favorite raw veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, baby carrots and celery sticks. This combo makes a protein-packed and super satisfying high-fiber snack that sticks with you.
SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH
These Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites with Greek Yogurt Frosting are made with five whole foods, have no added sugar and are topped with pillowy peanut butter Greek yogurt frosting. Chocolate lovers, can I get an “Amen?”
Try a low-sugar protein shake like this Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie, made with three simple ingredients: peanut butter powder, unsweetened chocolate almond milk and a frozen banana. This shake has 27 grams of protein thanks to peanut butter powder — a key ingredient that can help stave off hunger and provide amino acids to keep muscles from breaking down.