One of the top areas of struggle I see in clients trying to eat healthier is snacking.
What do I eat when I am in a hurry?
What do I eat on the go?
What is a healthy snack?
We often consider snacks a time to run to the vending machine or the convenience store. The past few months I have been traveling quite a bit so I definitely understand how difficult it can get. But what gets us into trouble is being unprepared (like so many things right?).
Being unprepared, hungry (hangry!), and on a time crunch will set you up for snack time disaster.
So here are a few tips to make your snack break a little healthier and a little easier next time:
1)_Be mentally prepared-
Having an idea of what you can have for a healthy snack will automatically make your picking easier. What do you want your snack made of? Having protein in your snack will up its satiety level, meaning it will help keep you fuller longer. A little healthy fat will also boost this benefit. This can look like a handful of nuts, a low sugar yogurt (grass-fed dairy or dairy-free), or some organic deli meats with hummus.
Know that you typically do not want to go for a snack consisting of just carbohydrates and sugar, this will jump your blood sugar and lead you to crash and feel hungry not long after you eat.
The exception to this can be low sugar fruits like apples or pears. For those that do not struggle with blood sugar regulation having a piece of fruit can give you the energy you need, especially if you are active or about to go workout. But check in with the next tip to make sure this works for you!
2) Get to know your body and hunger cues-
When it comes to snacking it is important first to get to know your body and know if a snack is really what it needs!
Often other physical needs like thirst can mimic the feeling of hunger. Boredom, sadness, or anxiety can also lead you to snack when really it is a mental break you need and not the calories. Get to know your body and listen to what it is really trying to tell you.
Real physical signs of hunger can include a rumbling stomach, feeling empty in your stomach, lightheadedness, irritability, nausea.. learn what your cues are to needing to eat. And remember feeling a light sensation of hunger once in a while is not a bad thing as long as you don't let it go on for too long!
3) Think outside the box-
When you think of a "snack" what do you think of? Bag of chips, an energy bar, granola, yogurt?
Often times it is something that comes in a package. But this is definitely not what a snack needs to consist of and often it is not the healthiest option for you!
A snack can be a small portion of your leftover dinner from last night, it can be a cup of soup, I love to have avocados with a little sea salt and a sprinkle of hemp seeds. A snack can be anything you think that will tide you over and is a good choice of nutrients.
4) Have prepared snacks on hand-
Don't get me wrong, those packaged foods do have their place but do you know how easy it is to make your own version? How much money you will save making a big batch of beef jerky? How a little cooler bag is a simple way to tote around some healthy choices for you and your family for the day.
One tip, think about what snack you are buying often and come up with a better way you can create it yourself to boost nutrients and save some money.
If you want to keep snacks around that have a longer shelf life, bagged nuts or sunflower seeds, little pouches of olives and dehydrated veggies are great for keeping in your purse or in your glove-compartment.
5) Have a list of healthy snacks on hand-
Sometimes when I am super hungry I know my brain just isn't working, thats when trying to think of the best option can be the toughest!
Keep a list of healthy choices you can purchase or bring with you on hand for a quick reference or inspiration.
Need help with this?