We all love to snack! That is not a necessarily a bad thing ...it just depends on what the snack is. Let's face it , while a pack f M&M's , potato chips, and soda might meet our needs for a "good feeling" snack, these kinds of snack are not really "good" for you! The trick is to snack in a way that is healthy, taste good, and helps fill you up until your next full meal. Try these tips to help you snack in a healthy way all day!
- Go Ahead - Satisfy Your Hunger- many people think that snacking between meals is almost illegal. Actually snacking between meals can be great for you! It gets the metabolism going and that means ultimately snacking between meals can help you loose weight! The trick is to snack on something healthy! Carrot and celery sticks with a low-cal dip, turkey in a lettuce wrap, home popped popcorn, and raisins and nuts. These kinds of snacks are healthy, low cal and will also give you a burst of energy.
- Be Realistic - We all want to do the right thing when we are making a change - especially when it comes to changing our eating habits. But let's be realistic - no one is perfect and there are exceptions to every rule. Not everything you snack on has to be perfectly prepared . It's okay to eat instant oatmeal, if you can't cook it from scratch everyday. Eating instant oatmeal is certainly better than eating highly sugared and processed box cereal. Eating drinkable yogurt may not be the best way to eat yogurt but it is better than grabbing a soda , or drinking juice filled with corn syrup. If eating instant oatmeal, and drinkable yogurt will keep you from going through the drive thru and grabbing something that is high in calories and fat - then go for the drinkable yogurt and oatmeal. What is most important is that you are headed towards the right direction. You are starting to make healthier choices!
- Change Your Definition of a "Snack" - Stop thinking less about conventional snack foods like chips, soda, and candy and start looking for opportunities to add healthy snacks instead. Grab a handful of blue berries instead of a handful of candy. Instead of drinking a soda to quench your thirst try water with a wedge of lemon and mint - it is refreshing and energizing. A quick snack of rice and beans, nuts, fruits, and yogurt are filling and good choices.
- Combine Your Food Groups - Try a healthy source of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Apples (carbohydrate), and 4 slices of cheese (protein and fat) is a healthy way to combine your carbs and protein. Also try berries (carbohydrate) and yogurt (protein) a great healthy snack that is also very fulling. Combining these food groups will help keep you fuller longer, add to your satiety which adds to less unhealthy snacking!
- Know Your Body's Clock - Start paying attention to when you get hungry. Learn to preempt your strong cravings. What time of the day do you crave a brownie or a milk shake? What time of the day do you feel yourself getting sluggish and tired? Plan to have your snack times during that time of the day when you start to lose your energy, your "pizazz". Timing your healthy snacks during these times will help you counteract the craving for those unhealthy snacks.
- What do YOU Like - No matter how good yogurt might be for you , if you don't like it, don't eat it. Choose healthy foods you like. Eat healthy foods that give you pleasure and satiety. I f you like eating crunchy food try rice cakes or banana chips. If you like something gooey try crackers with tomatoes and melted cheese on top.
- Watch Your Portions - I have this thing for any kind 0f cracker. I will eat a box of crackers in one sitting. When I started to watch what I was eating I broke my crackers down to smaller portions - ten at a time instead of 40 at a time! I decreased these cracker portions each day until eventually I stopped eating crackers completely. I replaced the crackers with unsalted sunflower seeds and raisins. I also kept my snack portions down too 100 to 180 calories per snack. A good example of a snack that is less than 180 calories is 10 cherry tomatoes, one stick of mozzarella cheese, peeled sliced cucumbers with a quarter avocado with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Lifestyle Coach - Health and Wellness
Host "The Wellness Journey", on the Voice America Health and Wellness Network