Overall, snacking seems to be looked at as a bad habit. However, there are ways to approach “snack time” with a little more purpose. Snacks can be the perfect place to incorporate some very nutrient dense foods to help fuel you throughout the day. Healthy snacks between meals can also be a way to help control hunger between meals and help you avoid overeating at mealtimes. Often, when choosing a snack, we go with what is most convenient without considering what the snack is doing for your body. Being aware of how a healthy snack can fuel you and sustain your hunger is part of picking that perfect healthy snack.
What to consider when picking healthy snacks
-Are you hungry? Sometimes our bodies can confuse dehydration with hunger. Try drinking at least 8 oz of water before reaching for a snack.
-Portion size of the snack. Be aware of packaging, often with things like nuts or crackers, the package will contain several servings which can allow the calorie count to add up quickly. Measure out by serving size amounts your favorite mixed nuts or whole grain snacks like popcorn in easy grab and go bags. By having the portions measured out, you will be far less likely to overeat.
-Macronutrients, how sustainable is the snack? For a snack to be sustainable you want a good amount of protein and ‘good’ fats. Another factor to consider is the fiber content of the snack. By choosing a snack that is dense these three elements, you will be able to stabilize and control your blood sugar which will help curb of hunger and cravings between meals.
-Avoid pre-packaged snacks like protein bars. While these might seem perfect as they are high in protein and fiber, they can also contain added sugars and unnecessary ingredients used to preserve the shelf life. Try to stick to simple, fresh foods.
-Plan ahead! By having your snacks pre-planned and packaged, you are more likely to avoid making decisions based off of cravings. Having a stash of healthy snacks on hand is a great way to always be prepared for when you are feeling hungry.
What are some healthy snack options?
Whole grains/fiber—popcorn, whole grain breads and crackers
Healthy fats—avocados, nuts, nut butters, hummus
Protein—Cheese, Meat sticks, jerky, Greek yogurt
Add Color—fruits and veggies of all varieties washed and cut up in serving sizes
Mix and match your snacks to find something that keeps you full and satisfied until your next meal. The options are endless!
Kinesiologist, HealthFit Gym