Can snacking be a part of a healthy lifestyle?
YES. I believe that snacking has gotten a bad rap over the years and if done the right way, can be an asset to a healthy lifestyle! Smart snacking can help keep energy levels up and boost metabolism throughout the day.
Everyone and every body is different when it comes to finding what makes you feel at your best, but for me, snacking is a crucial part of my day. I find that eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day helps prevent that “hangry” feeling. You know, when you get so hungry you become irritable?
Here are my top three tips when it comes to smart snacking:
Tip #1 – pre-portion! Do you like to buy things in bulk at the grocery store? Correctly portioning your snacks is the key to not overdoing it. At the beginning of the week, go ahead and pre-portion snacks such as nuts, veggie sticks or dips into baggies or individual containers. If you snack at home, portion out the snack instead of sneaking your hand into the entire bag!
No time to pre-portion yourself? Look for individually packaged foods at the grocery store for convenience. Some of my favorite go-to snacks include energy bars (like larabars, RXBars and Go Raw bars), hummus to-go containers and pre-sliced fruit.
Tip #2 – always have a backup. We are busy and always on-the-go which is why it’s important to be prepared at all times. I like to keep an energy bar, piece of fruit or baggie of nuts in my bag to have on hand if I get stuck running errands or in a meeting that ran late. Being prepared alleviates the temptation to settle for the convenient, often junkier grab-and-go foods at the office or store.
Tip #3 – Out of sight, out of mind. This one is common sense – keep foods off of your countertop (except for your fresh fruit basket)! It might look pretty to display banana chips or chocolate covered almonds in glass jars, but think about how easy it is to just grab a few here and there. Having foods out in the open can lead to mindless grazing, adding unaccounted for calories in your diet.
Another tip is to keep the less nutritious foods in your pantry on the top or bottom shelf so that they are not at eye-level. This is a great tip if you have kids or a significant other who’s not quite on board with your healthy habits.
Here are some healthy options to help you snack smartly:
- Plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
- Lightly salted edamame
- Guacamole and baby carrots
- Energy bites
- Lightly salted popcorn (I love the Boom Chicka Pop brand)
- Raw, unsalted nuts and fruit
- Medjool date with a Tablespoon of nut butter
- Chia pudding
- Avocado toast