Everyone loves a good snack, so much so that regular snacking has become part of the American diet. But American’s are not the only ones who love to snack, worldwide, snack sales soared to $374 billion dollars in 2017. Snacking doesn’t have to leave you feeling guilt-ridden or full of regret. Smart snacking can be part of a healthy diet, so long as you’re not always reaching for empty calories found in foods like chips and cookies.
Benefits of Healthy Snacks
- Control hunger.Snacks that are high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains make you feel full; therefore, you’ll be less likely to overeat at mealtime.
- Boost energy.Timing snacks throughout your day can keep you energized and alert; helping to avoid the dreaded mid-afternoon sluggish feeling that a dip in blood sugar can produce.
- Curb cravings.Planning a healthy snack during your day will help you avoid indulgencesthat can occur if you let yourself get too hungry
Plan for snacks
Pack a snack and bring it with you. Planning ahead for snacks will allow you to make smart choices and help you not fall prey to “junk food” when hunger calls. Choose nutrient dense options like fruit, vegetables, low dairy and whole grains. Ideally, you want a snack that includes fiber, protein and little fat, preferably the “heart healthy” kind like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are found in nuts, nut butter, avocados and olive oil.
Keep these tips in mind when choosing snacks:
- Control portions.Snacks should be kept to between 150-200 calories, this will keep your metabolism humming without loading up on calories between meals.
- Aim for at least 3-5 grams of fiber. Fiber is digested slowly and helps to sustain your energy. Fiber also absorbs water and expands in the stomach to help keep you feeling full—it will fill you up, without filling you out!
- Try for a minimum of 5 grams of protein. Protein helps to reduce hunger and increases satiety by reducing the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increasing the level of the satiety hormone peptide YY
- Keep it under 12 grams of fat per serving.This will ensure that you don’t get more than the USDA’s recommendation of 20 to 35% of your daily calories from fat
Here are five quick and easy snacks for you to try:
- 1 packet plain instant oatmeal, made with ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk and ½ cup blueberries 182 calories, 5g fiber, 5g protein 3g fat
- 2% Greek yogurt, (5.3 ounces) with 1/2 cup raspberries, topped with 1½ Tbsp. chopped walnuts: 191 calories, 13 g protein, 4.5g fiber, saturated fat 2.6 grams
- Large Pear with string cheese, 180 calories 8.5 g protein, 5 g fiber
- ½ sliced cucumber, ½ cup red pepper strips with 3 tablespoons hummus 125 calories, 5.5g fiber, 6g protein, 4g fat
- 15 Triscuit Thins with 1 babybel light cheese round 180 calories, 3g fiber, 9 g protein, 8 grams fat