It’s National Snack Month! Snacking gets a bad rap but you can absolutely do it in a healthy way. Here are my RD-approved tips for smarted snacking this month and beyond.
1. Choose Nutrient-Dense Options
Opt for snacks that are rich in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and low fat dairy are excellent choices. These snacks provide essential nutrients that your body needs for optimal functioning and help keep you feeling full for longer periods.
2. Portion Control
One of the keys to healthy snacking is moderation. Even nutritious snacks can contribute to excess calorie intake if consumed in large quantities not to mention ruin your appetite for lunch or dinner. Use portion control to avoid mindless eating and maintain a balanced diet.
3. Include Protein
Protein is a vital component for satiety and muscle repair. Including protein in your snacks can help you feel satisfied and curb cravings. Opt for options like Greek yogurt, hummus, cottage cheese or a handful of nuts. These protein-rich snacks provide a sustainable energy boost and support muscle health.
4. Embrace Whole Foods
Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are not only nutritious but also free from added sugars, unhealthy fats and artificial additives.
5. Mindful Snacking
Avoid mindless snacking in front of the TV or computer screen. Take the time to savor and enjoy your snacks by sitting down at a table. This practice helps you become more aware of your eating habits, leading to better food choices and enhanced satisfaction from your snacks.
6. Plan Ahead
Prepare and plan your snacks in advance to avoid grabbing unhealthy options on the go. Having a variety of nutritious snacks readily available can prevent you from reaching for less healthy alternatives when hunger strikes. Consider keeping a stash of pre-cut vegetables, fruit slices, or a mix of nuts for quick and convenient options.