Whether it is the hand-to-mouth action, the crunch, or the love of food, most everyone loves snacking. It’s easy to do and hard to resist. When you love snacking on the wrong foods, however, this can lead to poor eating habits and health problems. You don’t want to be caught in front of the vending machine deciding which processed, chemically engineered, salty snack you want to pollute your body with. Resist the urge to eat handful after handful of chips. If you snack in moderation and make healthy choices, it isn’t bad for you.
If you like to crunch, munch, or enjoy nibbling on whatever you crave, there are many healthy snacks for you to choose from. Before we continue, it’s important to note that you have to want to have a healthier approach to eating. If you commit to a healthier lifestyle, snacking healthily will be much easier. The next step is to figure out what to snack on.
It’s best to pre-pack healthy snacks before you leave your house because you want to make snacking convenient. Not being ready leads to bad snacking decisions. Snacking on fruit and veggies, whole grains, or healthy fats like raw nuts and seeds is what you need to munch on. Trail mix is often a great snack that will keep you energized throughout the day. Similarly, LaraBars or KIND products, both of which are made from whole, natural ingredients, are great sources of fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals. You also don’t want to snack too often. Snacking 3-4 times per day is a good rule of thumb because you want to snack between meals, especially if they are 4 hours apart. Leaving too much time between meals without healthy snacks can slow the metabolism. Additionally, have a healthy snack after you exercise to replace the energy you used and have a light snack after dinner if you eat more than four hours before bed.
One thing to watch out for when it comes to snacking, however, is portion distortion. When you snack, portion control is a challenging obstacle to overcome. You don’t want to be rummaging for bits and pieces of chips at the bottom of the bag saying, “Whoops, I didn’t want to eat the whole bag.” This, in addition to the many hydrogenated oils and salt in most chips, is why chips are not the best for you. The ideal portion contains 100-200 calories and will fit in the palm of your hand. That’s a lot smaller than people are used to when it comes to snacking, but snacking healthily means that you don’t need as much to keep you satisfied. For example, pears have a low calorie count and provide you with nutrients.
Choosing nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein and fiber is also an important part of snacking because you will feel fuller between meals. These foods control your hunger and prevent you from over-indulging. A great snack is apple slices topped with a little bit of almond butter. Raw almonds are also a great snack. Try chewing them longer before swallowing because you tend to fill up quicker if you chew more.
Change up what you snack on. If you continually snack on the same foods, you might get bored and revert to older, unhealthier habits. If mixed berries or celery and almond butter are boring your taste buds, try some spiced chickpea nuts or dip carrot slices in black bean hummus. The world of healthy snacks is filled with endless possibilities.