Healthy Habits: Tips for Smart Snacking
We all hit that point in the day where our stomachs start rumbling and we need a little pick-me-up. While it can be tempting to reach for the piece of candy hidden in your desk or leftover doughnut in the break room, it is important to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods. Snacks high in salt and sugar can leave you more exhausted and hungry than before you ate – they’re also more likely to influence unhealthy food choices throughout the day.
Preparing healthy snacks can make all the difference between a successful day and a sluggish day. Here are few snack options that will fuel you through the afternoon:
- Banana and Peanut Butter: A little salty-sweet combination that is high in protein and will keep you going all day. The potassium found in bananas will also help prevent cramping during an evening workout.
- Baby Carrots and Hummus: Hummus is a great alternative to the high-calorie options like ranch dressing or creamy dips. This crunchy treat is low in calories and satisfies that salty craving.
- Whole Wheat Toast and Avocado: Avocado is a great healthy fat that will keep you full all afternoon. The whole wheat toast is high in protein which also helps satisfy hunger. Try adding some red pepper flakes, the spice will rev-up your metabolism.
- Hint: Avocado toast is also a great breakfast option when you top it with an egg. The protein packed start to your day will help you avoid digging through the refrigerator for a mid-morning snack.
- Mixed Nuts: As most of us know, nuts are high in protein and a great snacking option. However, be mindful of the amount you are eating and aware of the salt levels on the nuts. Pre-measure out portions of nuts to ensure you aren’t unexpectedly indulging in a large number of calories or sodium.
- One Square of Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and a heart-healthy treat that will satisfy that pesky sweet tooth. Make sure it has at least 60 percent cocoa content to reap the benefits!
One key tip to remember is to look for snacks that are high in protein. Protein helps satisfy your hunger for longer periods of time and gives you an extra energy boost. Things to avoid are pre-made snacks that are high in added sugar or salt as they can slow you down and dehydrate you. Before reaching for a snack, do a self-check to make sure you are truly hungry instead of thirsty (try drinking a glass of water before your snack), bored or tired. Learning to read your body’s signs help ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to live a healthy, balanced life.