Choosing snacks wisely is important and a part of everyone’s day. But unfortunately, many foods that are seemingly “healthy” in reality, are not. For example, a bran muffin or a cereal bar may advertise itself as a healthy snack, but they are actually packed with sugar and unhealthy fats. Even “fat-free” foods can contain heaps of added sugar and salt. If you aren’t consciously making an effort to choose healthy snacks, you might mindlessly reach for convenient junk foods like chips or candy.
Smart snacking can help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full and satisfied. Think of snacks like mini-meals that help you power through the day and avoid eating empty calorie foods that lack nutrition. Nourishing your body with the right foods can make all the difference in your energy level and overall well-being.
Many people avoid snacking because they think they will gain weight. However, avoiding snacks all together can actually make it harder to stick to a healthy diet. Think about the number of times you’ve decided to skip a snack and end up overeating at the next meal. We’ve all experienced the “hangry” feeling, when you’re so hungry, you almost feel angry. On top of that, most of us lack the patience to devise and assemble a well-balanced meal while we’re overly hungry.
So what constitutes a healthy snack? A healthy snack generally includes at least two different food groups to provide balance in your diet. Read on for some easy tips for how to make smarter snacking decisions.
Easy Tips for Smart Snacking
Choose Whole Grains
Whole-grain ingredients give you sustained energy. Some health-wise whole-grain picks include low-salt pretzels or tortilla chips. Or try pairing a high-fiber cereal with yogurt.
Revamp Healthy Breakfast Foods
Who said breakfast foods can only be eaten for breakfast? Virtually any breakfast food can be repurposed as nutritious mid-day snacks. A slice of whole-grain toast topped with almond butter? Yes, please. Granola is also a diverse food that you can snack on alone, use as a topping, or make a parfait with some high-protein yogurt.
Try a “High-Low” Combination
The high-low combination is a nutritional balancing act. Pick a small serving of a healthy fat to pair with a large serving of something lighter. For example, you eat a large portion of a fruit or vegetable (e.g., apples, celery, etc.) and dip it in hummus or a nut butter.
Nuts are great snacks and come with the fun crunch factor! However, be cautious not to overindulge in nuts – although they are a healthy fat source, too much of anything isn’t good. Unsalted pistachios, cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts are great options. Most nuts also contain beneficial nutrients not found in other foods. For example, walnuts are a great source of antioxidants, omega-3s, copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese, and more.
Try a Combination Snack
A combination snack includes more than one macro (carb, protein, fat). Combos will not only satisfy your nutritional needs, but it can make your plate look more aesthetically pleasing too. We eat with our eyes first, so a colorful and varied snack plate can be very satisfying. You could try a few nuts with a serving of fruit , or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese. Balanced snacks will help keep your hunger at bay for longer periods between meals, too.
Practice Healthy Mindful Eating
Avoid snacking while doing other tasks. If you snack while scrolling or watching the latest Netflix show, you’re more likely to overeat. Instead, take a moment to mindfully and peacefully savor your snack.
Many social media influencers who create lifestyle and fitness content rave about meal-prepping. That’s because it really can facilitate healthier food choices. Since snacks are like mini meals, plan those ahead, too. You can pre-pack your snack bags the night before so you are less inclined to opt for a cake-pop or a pastry when you grab your morning coffee.
Rooted Living Wellness
Rooted Living Wellness is a Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, and Sports Rehab Center in Bluffton, SC.