Healthy Snacking Tips
Whether it’s the big game or an award show, it’s definitely snacking season! Snacking on small bites in front of a large screen around loved ones is practically American tradition. Choose nutritious snack options and be mindful when eating to keep you on track with your health goals. Here are a few healthy snacking tips:
- Only snack when you’re hungry – Before you snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry or just reaching for something out of boredom or for emotional reasons.
- Plan and portion out snacks ahead of time – Wash and cut up fruits and vegetables and portion them out so they are ready to snack on when you feel hungry.
- Prioritize protein – Aim for a snack with at least 7 grams of protein and combine it with a food with fiber for a nutritious and balanced snack. (Examples: apple slices + Greek yogurt, guacamole + tortilla chips, hummus + veggie slices, nut butter + banana, string cheese + berries)
- Make them portable – Choose snacks like fresh whole pieces of fruit or veggies that are easy to take with you on the go. For dips, keep them stored in tiny storage containers or a small sandwich baggie.
- Drink more water in between meals – Ask yourself, “how much water have I consumed today?” Light stomach growls can actually be a sign of dehydration.
How to Snack Healthfully:
Snacks are an opportunity to avoid overeating during mealtime by keeping your hunger levels at bay throughout the day. They are also a way to include more nutritious fruits and vegetables into your diet. When you eat healthy snacks, you consume additional essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. Here are a few tips to help you snack healthfully while watching the big game:
- Pair a protein and carbohydrate source together to help you feel fuller longer.
- Aim for around 200 calories per snack.
- Prepare homemade snacks vs. store-bought ones to have better control of added fats, sugars, and sodium content.
- Go for something plant-based – Whether carrots, cucumbers, apples, pears, or oranges, many plant-based food sources are ready to eat as-is. This makes them quick and easy to prepare, as well as easy to take with you on-the-go.
- Eat mindfully – remove added distractions when snacking (and, when eating in general) and focus on each bite. This will help you recognize various hunger and satiety cues, both physical and emotional ones.
- Eat different combinations of foods to satisfy different hunger cravings.
Healthy Snacking Swaps
Additional healthy snack ideas:
- ½ all-natural peanut butter sandwich on whole-grain bread
- fresh smoothie made with half cup plain yogurt, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup frozen fruit
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup fruit and 1 teaspoon chopped nuts
- 3 ounces of cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce
- 2 tablespoons guacamole with 1 cup raw veggies