Snacking is a favorite pastime for many gamers. It’s thinking food for Civ players and a sweet reward for Rocket League brawlers. There’s nothing like the sweet taste of victory after crushing your opponent or scoring the winning goal. But let’s be real for a second: idle junk food isn’t the way to celebrate.
We can all agree that some snacks are better than others. If you’re seeing a cloud of flavored dust when you bite into your favorite chip, chances are that your gut doesn’t appreciate it very much. Instead of downing an entire bag of chips or cookies, take a minute to find one of these healthy snacks to satisfy your craving.
1. Apple Slices
Okay, before you close your browser, hold on! Hear us out.
There are dozens of ways to flavor and prepare apples and apple slices. Whether you’re sprinkling cinnamon on them, dipping them in peanut butter, or just baking them to make crispy apple chips, apple slices taste amazing and they’re good for you!
They’re a great afternoon snack that won’t fill you up between meals and won’t leave a mess all over your keyboard on your controller. We can’t stand by that if you eat them with peanut butter, though. That’s a mess and a half.
2. Sunflower Seeds
Something great about sunflower seeds: they’re an excellent source of vitamins E, B1, and B6. And copper, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and niacin. In other words: they come packed with good stuff.
More importantly for us, though, a ¼ cup serving provides about 200 calories . . . but do you know how long it takes to eat that many sunflower seeds? Even if you’re an average seed-spitter, it’ll take you a while to get through them all.
If you’re looking for something to suck on while you’re building out your Minecraft fortress, sunflower seeds are a great place to start.
3. Celery Sticks
Are you ready for a workout? Grab a few celery sticks to munch on between rounds. Despite what you’ll sometimes hear passed around about celery, it’s not a negative-calorie food. You’ll still get some energy from it: exactly six calories per stalk, to be exact, so eat to your heart’s content!
Bonus points if you salt them or add cream cheese as a dipping sauce. You can even stuff them if you want, but we’re not here to get fancy.
4. Trail Mix
This is a great snack food for a LAN party or some split-screen gaming. Throw a bag of trail mix into a huge bowl and share it around. Make sure you get a good handful because it definitely won’t last long.
If you’re trying to stave off that mid-afternoon hunger, a bag of trail mix will settle your stomach, but use caution! It’s easy to shove way too many peanuts down your throat and skip dinner because you got distracted.
Looking for bonus points? Make your own trail mix to cut out some of the less desirable ingredients you see in the prepackaged versions.
5. Whole Grain Crackers
Where do we start with crackers? These little delicacies are like the building blocks of life. Before you rip open the box and shove them down your throat, take a minute and consider your options.
True: crackers are often great by themselves, and there are a lot of healthy options to choose from. They’re usually low in fat and calories, but they don’t actually supply that many vitamins on their own. No, they’re just one part of a larger whole. Find a good topping for your favorite cracker and meet your match made in heaven.
6. Frozen Grapes
This one is one of the easiest on the list. All you need are some grapes and a freezer. Throw the grapes in there for about two hours, and you’ve got a snack that’ll last as long as your patience will allow.
Everyone knows that you can just eat a mouthful of grapes, but a lot of people don’t know that the antioxidants are what you’re really after. So don’t be shy. Grapes can lower your risk of diabetes and protect against cardiovascular disease.
That’s not bad for an afternoon of gaming.
We know that it’s easy to get distracted when you’re building your empire or slaying orcs, and a lot of gamers lose track of how much they’ve consumed in the course of an afternoon. While the snacks on our list are all healthier alternatives to potato chips and chocolate-coated cookies, any food deserves to be enjoyed in moderation. (Except for celery. Go crazy with that one.)
If you’re snacking while gaming, eating healthy is only part of the battle. Consider pre-portioning your snacks into a storage container or taking a minute to gauge the appropriate measurements for your finger food before you sit down with it.
Monitoring your snacktime inventory is just one of those gaming challenges that’s sure to win some extra achievement points somewhere down the line.