How to snack better, smarter and healthier?
Looking and feeling your best is living a healthy lifestyle, but with all kinds of available food out there, it can be hard to decide what to eat. The food pyramid for a good diet tells you that there is a certain balance when eating fruits, vegetables, meat, and carbs. There is a lot of advice on planning healthy meals, but what about snacks?
It’s convenient to snack on what’s convenient like energy bars, processed snacks with chocolates, and candies, but they are not the smartest decisions. Consuming food that are high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat can wreak havoc on your healthy diet. Fortunately, there are a lot of options for healthier snacking. Here are some tips:
Nuts & dried fruits
Snacking healthy doesn’t always mean eating the blandest most boring food you can find or in its purest form. Mixing sweet and savory can provide an enjoyable experience to your flavor palate. Nuts and dried fruits are a great option if you want to have something filling, nutritious, and delicious.
Nuts such as almond, peanuts, and cashews are good sources of healthy fat, fiber, and protein. Dried fruits like apples, apricots, raisins, and cranberries are packed with vitamins too. It can be easy to go nuts with this type of snack, but remember to check your portion sizes.
Check nutrition labels
When you’re busy living your best life, it can be challenging to find time to prepare snacks yourself. But you don’t have to go hungry between meals since it’s possible to go to convenience stores or the nearby grocery to get some munchies. While many products are labeled “pure” or “all natural,” it doesn’t always mean they’re good for you. Before buying anything, check the nutrition information first and determine whether the ingredients are right for you.
You often see these bold “healthy” claims in certain juice drinks and packaged granola bars. Don’t believe what the labels say because they can be packed with so much sugar and even harmful trans fat. Some labels also say low-fat, but while you think it’s good for keeping your waist trim, the food can be packed with a lot of preservatives and sugar to keep it tasting yummy.
Another thing to remember about store-bought snacks is to read the recommended serving size. A packet of branded trail mix, for example, can mean two portions in one bag.
Water quenches thirst and hunger
How much water you drink daily affects the way your body functions. There are times when the body is signaling for you to eat food, but it can also mean that you’re dehydrated. So if you’re feeling hungry in between meals, drink water first until your thirst is quenched.
Water is a calorie-free beverage that is a whole lot healthier than sodas and branded fruit juice. However, if you’re used to carbonated drinks and find water too plain, you can dress water with fruits and vegetables. Try to use seltzer to imitate the bubbles and fizz from pop and go for healthier alternatives, too, or just until you’ve adjusted your palate to drinking regular water.
Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
One way you can stop bingeing on unhealthy foods is to stop buying them. Stock up the cupboard with healthier options instead so if you’re feeling hungry, you can reach for these instead. It helps to display fruits and vegetables where you can see it, like in a bowl on the kitchen counter, so you can snack on them easily.
Don’t totally deprive yourself
It takes great dedication to eat the healthiest food available to you. It can take time to adjust your habits to eating better, but you don’t have to deprive yourself of snacks that aren’t the healthiest. Go ahead and eat that piece of cake or doughnut if it’s offered. Treating yourself once in a while will help stave off the feelings of deprivation, and you’re less likely to crash and binge-eat on all the snacks you love.
It is important to remember that you can eat anything you want just as long as it is in the right portion sizes. For example, the Japanese are known for their healthy diets, but they are a country known for its love of snacks. They’re varied, so snacks are more interesting and in the right portion sizes too. Not sure where to start with snacks? This guide might help you!
The bottom line
A lifestyle change can be difficult, especially if you were once someone who didn’t mind what you eat. Snacking can curb hunger and boost your mood, and if you ever get cravings, be mindful of what your body is feeling. Feelings such as anxiety, boredom, or dehydration can trigger the impulse to eat what you feel is good. You can still enjoy fast food and the occasional brownie, but only satisfy your craving enough that you don’t slip from your healthy diet.
How do you snack healthier? Share your tips and advice in the comments below.