To snack is human. To healthy snack is divine
Contrary to popular belief, snacking can be a really healthy strategy for weight control and hunger management. But we have to do it right.
Here’s how to transform those guilt-filled unhealthy breaks into an enjoyable, nourishing opportunity between meals.
Not sure if snacking is for you? Check our article To snack, or not to snack? to find out.
1. Focus on quality
The first and most important trick to healthy snacking is to monitor the ingredients of your snacks.
Fiber and protein keep you full for longer and provide you with extra vitamins and minerals as a bonus.
Looking for some ideas? Check our 21 suggestions for sweet and savory healthy snacks.
2. Keep the balance
While you should prefer wholesome unprocessed snacks, remember that you can still allow yourself a small unhealthy treat once in a while, without feeling guilty about it.
Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone.
3. Mind the portions
Even when snacking on healthy food, make the portions as small as possible.
Eat the amount that is just enough to satisfy your hunger, but doesn’t make you too full. When in doubt, a good rule of thumb is about 200 calories per snack.
4. Plan ahead
Prepare or buy your healthy snacks in advance, to have them ready to eat when you need them.
Always have them with you (in your bag, at work, in your fridge), so that you won’t enter desperation mode when hunger sneaks up on you.
5. Keep your snacks portable
One of the reasons unhealthy snacks are so popular is their convenient availability. They’re everywhere and we can carry them easily.
Make your wholesome snacks portable to help you choose healthy over unhealthy when hunger strikes.
Check out our suggestions for simple yet yummy 200-calorie healthy snacks.
6. Watch the frequency
How many snacks do you need per day? It depends on your activity levels and the size of your meals.
7. Snack only when you’re hungry
Learn to differentiate physical hunger – hollow and slightly painful stomach, weakness, even headache – from hunger triggered by temptation, stress, or boredom.
Before you grab your healthy snack, you can try drinking a full cup of water and see if you’re still hungry after 15 to 20 minutes. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
8. Snack to stock up your energy reserves
You can have a healthy snack when you are NOT hungry IF you’re preparing for an energy-demanding activity like a long meeting, a lecture, or a workout.
If you can foresee getting hungry, better to recharge those batteries in advance.
9. Kick unhealthy snacks out of the house (and office)
Out of sight, out of mind.
Keeping unhealthy snacks away will spare you the temptation and if you really are hungry, you’ll resort to eating your healthy snacks instead. Over time, you won’t even miss those toxic calorie bombs.
Need some healthy snack ideas? Check out our 21 nutritious and easy-to-make snacks.
10. Eat mindfully
Do not snack when doing something else like watching TV, typing away, or browsing the internet.
Instead, stop what you’re doing and pay attention to your food: savoring a small portion of your snack will be more satisfying than gobbling up the whole bag, making you less prone to overeat.
11. Tackle your cravings
Cravings are generally emotional. Sadness, loneliness, stress, or boredom can trigger all sorts of cravings. Hormonal changes are also often to blame.
Before giving in, try a mood-lifting activity: listen to some music, go for a walk, call a friend. If you still feel like eating, no worries: indulge without guilt but keep the portion small.
12. Limit your intake of junk snacks
Highly-processed snacks are extremely unhealthy. Their excessive consumption increases our risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer!
Junk food contains high levels of unhealthy fats, salt, and refined carbs. It’s also poor in nutrients like protein and fiber, which is why it never satisfies our hunger for long.
Now, you know the classic examples of junk snacks: potato chips, cookies, frozen snack foods, pastries, and soft drinks.
But pay special attention to the so-called “health food” like granolas and breakfast cereals: many of these products are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Learn to spot junk food with our quick guide to food labels and never be fooled again!
13. Share because you care
Teatime with your friends? Lovely idea!
Here’s a twist: you guys may want to order just one dessert and share it. Enjoy the company and the food, but try to reduce those empty calories for everyone’s sake.
And speaking of sharing…
If you liked this article, please help us spread the word and share it with your friends.
Would you like to share your own healthy snacking tips? Use the comment box below. We’d love to hear from you!
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