Having a snack does not have to sink your diet.
With practice, healthy snacking can become as easy as dropping a couple dollars in the vending machine. In fact, with as much trouble as I have had to get the machines to take my bills or coins, it might even be easier to pack a healthy snack than it is to finally get a snack out of the machines at work. In my opinion, snacking has gotten a bad reputation. I have found that if you eat a small snack between meals it can lead to eating less. We all get hungry between meals and many of us tend to graze the lunch room or candy bowls. There is nothing wrong with eating something to tied that little tiger in your belly in order to make it to the next meal, but you should choose wisely. It is the poor choices in foods that may end in weight gained. Choosing the right snack can lead to you feeling full and satisfied and the wrong ones can end in regret and overeating.
Having foods readily available can make a huge difference in the foods you choose. Snacking on junk food can lead to weight gain and increase your risk developing diet-related health problems. Healthier snacks are a good way to calm hunger and stick with you longer than that junk food. The average American eats just over 1-2 snacks per day. Unfortunately, they also get over a quarter of their calories from snacks. You can quickly see these will quickly add up and pad your midsection. The key to snacking healthy is convenience. The snack bowls and free junk food in the lunch room is very convenient, but they are also horrible for you. If you bring prepared 100-calorie snack bags that you make at home, you can easily make them just as convenient and if you choose wisely, they will even be healthy. The best part is if you model this for your children, they will learn better-snacking habits. Every healthy snack pack you serve or make available, so your family can grab them on the go.
Below is a list of potential healthy snack choices. Print it and use it as a shopping list. The foods on this list add a variety to your choices. I make my own 100 calorie bags using ziplock baggies. Remember that you might need to keep refrigerated items on ice. I tend to use items that are heat stable and keep them by the door so I can grab a few on the way out.
Healthy snack examples:
Apple slices with peanut butter
- Baked tortilla chips and salsa
- Baked tortilla or pita chips and bean dip
- Baked potato chips
- Beef jerky or other meat jerkies
- Canned fruit without sugar added
- Carrot Sticks
- Cheese sticks
- Crackers (higher fiber)
- Celery sticks with hummus
- Celery with peanut butter
- Cereal (high fiber)
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Crackers and cheese
Crackers and peanut butter
- Dark chocolate
- Dried fruit
- Lunch meat and cheese
- Nuts and seeds
- Popcorn (hot air popped)
- Rice cakes
- Roasted soybeans
- Trail mix (low sugar and salt)
- Snack bars (low sugar)Whole grain crackers and cheese or peanut butter
- Yogurt and fruit (watch the sugar)
The bottom line: There’s nothing wrong with having a snack. It is the food you choose and the portion size that truly matters when snacking. Snacking right takes a little more effort, but it will pay off in the long run. By keeping an array of healthy foods on hand and packing few each day just in case you get hungry can result in healthier eating habits and you may even feel a little better.