Snacks sometimes get a bad rap, and many people avoid having them in order to watch their weight. Have you ever found yourself avoiding a snack only to overeat later? When we avoid eating between meals, we become hungrier, leading us to make unhealthy choices later on when we are extremely hungry. Smart snacking can help us feel full longer and curb cravings, as well as promote portion control.
Snacks can be part of a healthy eating pattern and should be thought of as mini meals; which may help to avoid empty calorie options like cookies and chips. They should be kept to 200 calories or less (200-300 calories if you are more active) and should include two out of the following: whole grains, healthy fats, protein.
Choosing healthy snack options can be difficult when you live a busy lifestyle. Especially when most processed foods are the easiest to grab quickly. Here are some ideas for quick grab-and-go snacks:
- Sabra Hummus Singles – these single serving containers of hummus are great with veggie slices like carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Grocery stores even sell pre-sliced veggies if you want to eliminate the prep time!
- Fat-free yogurt cup – yogurt is a great source of protein which will help keep you satisfied longer. Try adding some berries or granola to mix it up!
- Apple with peanut butter – Justin’s peanut butter has single serving packets that are easy to take on the go. The peanut butter is full of protein and healthy fats, while the apple is a good source of fiber.
- Granola bar – be cautious with these as many are high in added sugars. KIND brand and Larabar are two great choices that are made with whole foods and are high in protein which will help you feel full.
- Piece of fruit with a handful of nuts – portion out nuts into snack size baggies ahead of time so that they’re easy to grab and go or find single serving packets at the grocery store.
- Air popped popcorn – not a fan of plain popcorn? Spice it up with garlic powder, cinnamon, or chili powder.
Try to have your snacks planned and prepped ahead of time so they’re easy to grab when you’re busy. If you’re feeling a craving for something sweet, add fruit to your snack. Most importantly, remember to listen to your body and if you’re feeling hungry between meals, have a snack.
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Content submitted by Jessica Roy MS, RD, LDN Waverley Oaks Nutrition Counselor & Katie Woznick, Dietetics Student at Simmons University