Snacks are a normal part of daily eating. Consuming snacks between meals can keep your hunger at bay between meals and prevent overeating. It is a great way to get the energy boost you need as you move through the day. Snacking also provides an opportunity to include nutrients or foods that were missing from previous meals. It can also satisfy cravings. What you choose to snack on has a big impact on your overall health and the nutritional value of your diet. To help you stay on track with your snacks, try these healthy snacking tips.
10 Tips for Smart Snacking
- Protein pairing- balanced snacks keep you satisfied. Aim for a protein paired with a healthy fat or carb at each snack.
Whole foods- opt for snacks you make at home rather than a pre-packaged bar. This will allow you to control the ingredients used and save money. Pre-packaged snacks tend to be pricey for the added convenience.
- Snack mindfully- avoid watching TV or working on the computer when snacking. Distracted snacking makes it difficult to listen to your hunger cues.
- Snack small- a snack is meant to curb hunger between meals. Portion your snacks ahead of time to prevent over-snacking.
- Plan ahead- keep pre cut fruits, veggies, and nutritious ingredients visible and with easy access. When snacking away from the home, plan and pack your snack before you leave.
- Set a space- eat in a designated area such as an office kitchen, dinning room table, or patio to minimize distractions.
- Avoid grazing- when snacking, pick 1-3 components for your snack and stick with them. Do not eat small bites of everything in the fridge.
- Stay hydrated- before snacking, drink some water. Your body can mistake thirst for hunger.
- Go for the grain- Whole-grain snacks can give you energy with staying power. They also pair well with protein for a powerful snack.
- Balancing act- combine a small portion of your calorie dense snack component such as peanut butter, with a larger amount of your lighter snack such as apple slices or celery sticks.
When selecting your snacks, choose foods that are minimally processed and can help fill nutrient gaps. Eating a wide variety of foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains will improve overall diet quality and health. Here are some balanced snack suggestions to help you prepare for the week.
- Trail mix and cheese
- Veggie sticks and hummus
- Hard boiled egg and fruit
- Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa or guacamole
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Energy balls
- Whole-grain toast with nut butter
- Apples and cheese
Snacking is a great way to keep you fueled throughout a busy day. Remember as you snack, it is not meant to be a meal replacement. By making small, healthy changes to snack choices over time you can improve your diet. Healthy snacks play a key role in overall health, supporting a healthier weight, and improving diet quality.