There was a time not too long ago when a snack was something kids ate when they got home from school. They would have some cookies and milk to keep them going until dinner. Now times have really changed.
Snacks are so prevalent today that around 90% of adults eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. This, in part, can be caused by keeping up with a busy lifestyle. It has gotten to the point that some people choose to eat snacks over a full course meal. The major advantage to this is that they enjoy the instant gratification of eating without the prep nor the wait.
There is nothing too bad with snacking at mealtimes as long as your snacks are healthy. Unfortunately, snacking on desserts, candy, chips or soda isn’t very healthy. There is no real nutritional value in them. They do not fill you up nor leave you satisfied. It will just lead to more snacking later on. Here are six great snacking choices that are nutritious and will keep you satisfied:
1. Eating Healthier Chips
If you like to eat potato chips, stick with the healthier choices such as vegan, whole grain or baked chips. Use a hummus dip to make them more filling without packing on too many calories. You can also create your own dip by mixing a small amount of dry onion soup mix with some plain Greek yogurt.
2. Eat Some Raw Vegetables
Or you can ditch the potato chips entirely and replace them with raw vegetables instead. Combine plain Greek yogurt with some dry vegetable seasoning mix for a homemade dip. Vegetables are way crunchier than chips and are packed with nutrients and fiber!
3. Make Smart Choices with Energy Bars
Energy bars are a very popular “to go” snack on a busy day. The downside is that some of them don’t fuel you up in the long term. You have to read the ingredients to make the best choice. You need to choose a bar that has at least 20 grams of protein according to Moore & Colleagues research. They should consist of some healthy fats that are not trans-fats and carbohydrates that come from whole grain and fruits rather than from sugars.
It also helps to have a cup of low-fat or skim milk to make the bar more rewarding and fueling.
4. Spice up Your Yogurt
Yogurt is a super smart choice for snacks. Having a Greek yogurt is even healthier. Greek yogurts have twice as much protein as regular yogurt. So you can see why it’s a smart choice.
You can spice up your yogurt by mixing in some fruit or nuts. It improves the taste, makes the yogurt more satisfying and packs in more nutrients.
5. Mix Up a Great Smoothie
You can buy a premade smoothie from the store for a nice jolt of vitamins. But the downside is that they are packed full of sugars. Spiking your blood sugar means that your insulin levels will drop suddenly, causing fatigue. Pass over store bought and mix up your own using fresh apples, bananas or pears. Throw in some green vegetables, low-fat milk or a bit of Greek yogurt. Homemade smoothies have fewer calories and a lot less sugar.
6. Stock Up on Nut Butters
Swap out dairy butter with a nut butter like almond or walnuts. You can pair up your nut butter with crunchy apples or whole grain crackers to have a bigger snack. These butters are packed full of fiber, proteins, and healthy fats. This keeps hunger away for longer and leaves you more satisfied.
Moore DR, Robinson MJ, Fry JL, et al. Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. Jan 2009;89(1):161-168.