Smart snacking is an important part of everyone’s day and can help stabilize your blood sugars to keep you full and satisfied throughout the day. Snacks should be thought of as mini meals to avoid eating empty calorie foods such as chips, soda, or candy. They should also include at least two different foods groups to provide balance in your diet. After all everything we put in our bodies counts towards the way we feel.
Many people try to avoid snacking to watch their weight, but avoiding snacks just makes sticking to a healthy diet harder. How many times have you decided to not eat between lunch and dinner and ended up eating way more at dinner than you planned or you find yourself at the fridge door, eating before you can put together a well balanced dinner? Been there, done that, over it!
Benefits of Smart Snacking
- Avoiding snacks can lead to cravings and cause you to make unhealthy choices out of extreme hunger
- Giving up on your healthy plan due to hunger can cause feelings of guilt or cause you to give up on your diet
- If you are athletic working out without the proper fuel affects your performance and can cause you to burn less calories and feel worse than you did before working out.
- Planning and portioning snacks for the day can help keep you feeling more satisfied
Tips for Smart Snacking
- Try to listen to your “hunger signs” and snack if you are hungry in between meals.
- Keep whole fruits and vegetables (like apples, oranges, grapes, or carrots) on hand. They’ll stay fresh and are easy to eat when you’re busy at work, school, etc.
- Include a protein source with each snack to keep you full and satisfied. Try adding a tablespoon of natural peanut butter with your apple of a bit of hummus with your raw veggies or pita chips.
- Plan your daily snacks so you’re sure to have snacks available when hungry
- Eat slowly and enjoy your snack just like any other meal. Challenge yourself to snack without distractions.
Try these carb/protein snack combinations for a healthy energy boost throughout your day!
- Sliced apples, bananas, celery, or whole wheat crackers with natural peanut butter, like Justin’s*
- Raw vegetables with hummus or a Laughing Cow cheese wedge*
- Baked tortilla chips topped with salsa, kidney beans, and just a sprinkle of cheese
- Top a whole wheat English muffin with tomato sauce and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, jelly and low-fat cream cheese, or hummus and sliced veggies
- Combine fat free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt with onion soup mix for a lighter veggie dip
- Spice up popcorn with chili powder, cinnamon and a bit of sugar, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, or unsweetened cocoa powder
- Add a bit of granola and/or fruit to plain yogurt
- Make a mini-quesadilla by adding low-fat cheese and plenty of vegetables to one small whole wheat tortilla and fold in half
- Create your own smoothie using fat-free Greek yogurt, your favorite fruits, ice, and just a pinch of honey for added sweetness
- A piece of fruit with a handful of your favorite nuts
- Cut up fruits such as apples, pears, apricots, or blueberries and sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup and cook in the oven or microwave for your own personal compote
- Cottage cheese paired with fruit or on top of whole-wheat crackers with a drizzle of honey
- Snack bars (KIND, Lara, Luna, Zing, etc.)
For more recipes and tips on smart snacking. Take a look at our Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and our Mayhem to Mealtime program. Contact us today so we can support you in meeting your nutrition goals. Our number is 301-474-2499 or visit our Contact Us Page.
Blog updated March 2020.
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.