Snacking. Do you snack? I certainly do. But I find that I have many patients that do not snack. Often times people might think that snacking is a big no-no when trying to lose weight or even working on weight maintenance. However, healthy snacking can be and IS important to a healthy diet that is well-balanced. Healthy snacking can actually contribute to eating fewer calories throughout the day, against contrary belief, because it can help prevent us from overeating at meal times. Snacks can also help boost your energy between meals and supply you with valuable (and essential) vitamins and minerals!
I don’t know about you, but if I go too long without eating, I end up craving not-so-healthy foods and seem to eat almost anything in sight without portion control. Follow these smart snacking tips, brought to you by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and start incorporating healthy snacks to your day!
- Choose snacks that are nutrient-rich by including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and protein food groups.
- Think of snacks as mini-meals.
- Only snack when you are hungry. Avoid snacking when you are bored, frustrated, or stressed. Try going for a walk or participating in a light activity instead.
- Keep portion sizes in check. Invest in single-serve containers to prevent overeating.
- Plan your snacks ahead of time. Along with packing your lunch the night before, plan your snacks as well. This can help prevent that 2 p.m. trip to the vending machine.
Snacks Ideas with 200 calories or less:
- 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter on a sliced, medium apple
- 1 cup of low-sodium tomato soup with 5 whole grain crackers
- 3 cups of air-popped popcorn sprinkled with 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
- Small baked potato topped with salsa and 1 ounce low-fat cheese
- Toaster whole-grain waffle with 1/2 cup blueberries and 2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt
- One, 6-inch flour tortilla with 1/4 cup black beans and 2 tablespoons fresh salsa
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew, Copycat KIND Bar (See below)
- 2, No-Bake Energy Bites
Snacks with 200-300 Calories:
- Whole wheat pita with 2 tablespoons of hummus
- Trail Mix: 20 almonds, miniature box of raisins, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- Instant oatmeal made with fat-free milk with 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/2 cup peaches and a dash of cinnamon
- Mini cinnamon-raisin bagel with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- 6 ounces low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup berries and 2 tablespoons granola
One of my favorite go-to snacks lately is the dark chocolate cherry cashew KIND bar. SO. GOOD. However–the are kind of expensive and the price can add up. I’ve thought about buying them in bulk, but I cam across an even better idea–homemade!
This recipe from The Yummy Life is so awesome and super easy to make. Each bar is 169 calories and 4 grams of protein. It incorporates whole grain cereal, heart-healthy nuts, and of course some delicious dark-chocolate. I will most certainly be making this recipe again–very soon!
Happy & Health Snacking!!