Snacking doesn’t have to be your downfall. With a few simple changes, it can even help you reach your health goals.
Many people blame snacking as their downfall when it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight and diet. This is the bad type of snacking, which includes not-so-healthy food (chips, candy, etc.). This usually happens when you are overly hungry and can just about eat anything and everything in sight. Along the same lines, mindless snacking can also occur when you are feeling bored, watching television, or working while sitting at a desk. When mindless snacking occurs, you can wind up eating an entire bag of chips without even realizing it until it is too late!
I am here to tell you that not all snacking is bad and it can be a good thing (when it’s nutritious of course) when it is done the right way. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are great additions to your daily diet. Having a snack in between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner helps to keep your blood sugar levels in check and prevent you from getting overly hungry when it is time for your next meal. It is also okay to have a small snack after dinner if necessary.
If you are hungry, it is your body’s way of telling you to eat something! A person is more likely to make poor food choices when they are overly hungry. It is also common for a person to overeat when they are starving. Healthy snacking is a great way to fuel your body so it has sustained energy throughout the day. Remember, everything our bodies do for us automatically, whether big or small, all require energy. On top of that, we need energy to carry out everyday tasks. Nutritious snacking can help avoid energy crashes, especially in the afternoon.
Here are some healthy snack options:
- 1 serving fruit + 1 handful raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.)
- Baby carrots + hummus
- Celery + 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
- 1 apple sprinkled with cinnamon + 2 tablespoons raw almond butter
- ½ to 1 cup plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon
- ½ cup cooked steel cut oats sprinkled with cinnamon + topped with fruit of your choice + 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 1 slice Ezekiel bread + 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter + half banana (great pre-workout snack)
- Rice cake + 1 tablespoon nut butter
- Protein shake (1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop protein, 1–2 handfuls baby spinach/kale, 1–2 servings fruit, 1 cup ice)
- Homemade bars/muffins
It is always a good idea to have extra snacks packed when you are on the go! This helps you avoid buying fast food and other food-like items that you wouldn’t normally eat (processed foods high in sugar and/or sodium). So when it doubt, always pack extra! Depending on your lifestyle and your job, you may not be able to eat both a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. Find what works for you, and when you do, stick to it! Your body will love you for it!