It's 3 p.m. You're hungry. If your next move typically involves a bag of chips — or anything sugary — it's officially time to mix it up. That's because while research shows that the vast majority of adults are daily snackers, those over 50 need to do so wisely. “As you get older you need fewer calories, so you want to make sure you get more nutrition per bite,” says Joan Salge Blake, nutrition professor at Boston University and host of the health and wellness podcast Spot On!
But you're not only after something low in calories. And it's OK if a single apple doesn't quite do it for you. Along with vitamins and minerals, an ideal snack should provide some carbs for quick energy along with fiber and protein to help sustain you until the next meal.
Here are five power-packed snacks that will help you satisfy cravings and give your body the fuel it needs.
These little seeds seem to be showing up everywhere, with good reason. For starters, they're a great source of fiber, which is all-important for keeping your GI tract working, says Salge Blake. Just 2 tablespoons pack 8 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein; chia seeds are also a good source of minerals like calcium and iron as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. To whip them into a great snack option, try an easy-to-make chia pudding: In a small glass bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons chia seeds with 1/2 cup milk of your choice (if you use a nondairy milk, be sure to choose an unsweetened one). Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then whisk again. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to five days. When you're ready to eat, add fresh fruit, dried coconut, nut butter or any other toppings you'd like.