Although it’s best to avoid processed snack foods, wholesome snacks can actually be a great addition to your diet. Here are a few smart snacking tips I’d like to share that will help keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day.
When should I snack?
Having a snack between breakfast and lunch, and again between lunch and dinner, is usually a good idea – especially if you tend to go longer than 4 hours between meals. Healthy snacks will keep you from getting that “hangry,” irritable feeling and will also help prevent you from overeating at your next meal.
Should I snack if I’m trying to lose weight?
There’s definitely a place for snacks in a healthy eating plan as long as you’re making the right choices. Eating small, frequent meals and snacks can help improve your metabolism, which may help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Don’t get caught empty-handed!
Planning snacks ahead of time can help you avoid indulging on treats that are high in fat and sugar. Packing your own snacks is also an easy strategy to help you stay clear of the “goodies” lurking in the break room. Try prepping snacks for your day the night before or in the morning. For easy portability, store snacks in a small sandwich bag or reusable food container when on the go.
What should I snack on?
Make snacks healthier by choosing minimally processed, nutrient-rich foods. Here are some of my go-to favorites:
- Apple slices or banana with 2 tablespoons of all-natural almond butter
- Avocado toast –Try 1 slice of whole grain toast with mashed avocado, sliced tomato, and freshly ground black pepper
- A handful of trail mix – Make your own mix with unsalted almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, and a few dark chocolate chips
- Smoothies – Try this delicious blueberry blend or be daring and go for this double green combo
- Fresh veggies (peppers, carrots, cucumbers, etc) and one-quarter cup hummus
- A handful of unsalted nuts or sunflower seeds and fresh fruit
- Brown rice cakes with 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter
- “Nice cream” – Try this homemade cherry soft serve when looking for something sweet
Healthy snacks are a great way to boost your mood and concentration between meals. Planning these snacks in advance will give you the energy to power through your day while feeling your best.
About the Author:
Katie Lester, MS, RD, LDN, CIC
Katie Lester is a clinical dietitian at Lifespan’s Lifestyle Medicine Center. Katie is also a facilitator for several wellness programs offered through the center. She has special interests in women’s health, cancer survivorship, and plant-based nutrition.
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