It’s always beneficial to consume healthy snacks. However, there are items that may be labeled healthy but lack in nutritional value. Cereal bars and bran muffins, for example, may contain more sugar and unhealthy fats. Additional sugar and salt are also found in some foods labeled fat-free.
To snack smarter and stay healthy, you must prepare and plan for it. Because if you do not make a plan, there is a tendency that you’ll snack more, thinking that you are consuming healthy foods anyway. You have to remember that even healthy snacks can increase your calorie intake for the day. Likewise, it is important to remember that two snacks a day is all you need. For example, if a person needs 2,000 calories a day, set 200 calories for the morning and afternoon snacks and divide the rest into three equal parts for your three full meals.
So let’s see some of the tips to snack smarter and healthier.
1. Timing your snack time is important. It’s smart to have a snack when you feel hungry, but it is too close to your regular meal, it is better to wait. It is not good to have a snack while you are working at your desk, watching TV or surfing the Internet because you tend to eat more. It is better to stop what you are doing and concentrate on eating your snack.
2. Put healthy snacks in plain sight. It is easier to eat healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, dried fruits, mixed nuts, etc. If everyone can see them easily. Have a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter. Divide whole grain snacks such as tortilla chips, high fiber cereals or low-salt pretzels into individual servings. Do the same for mixed nuts.
3. Some breakfast items are good as snack items as well. You can have low-sugar granola. If you’re at home, top a slice of whole-grain toast with some low sugar jam to sate your hunger. Some cold water or a cup of green tea will keep you sated until lunch or dinner.
4. Get energized with a small serving of unsalted nuts. Choose from filberts, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, walnuts or almonds. You can also snack on roasted pumpkin seeds and other edible seeds. They are rich in protein so you can have a quick energy boost. Just make sure that you only have a small serving as nuts pack lots of calories, too.
5. See to it that you are drink water regularly. Even if you are only snacking, drinking water will prevent you from over-eating. Aside from plain water, you can make sparkling water with lemon or lime, tomato or vegetable juice, orange slices or herbal tea, instead of having sodas, sweetened juices or teas.
6. Even if you are eating a snack, it is good to serve yourself a small portion, since it may already be enough to sate your hunger. A previous study found participants have the hunger levels after their meal as the participants who were offered a snack 15 minutes after their meal.
7. There was a study that was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2011 where researchers found it will help you to snack or even eat less when you use your less-dominant hand. So if you are naturally right-handed, eat with your left hand.
8. Do not tackle difficult work or attempt to work out when you are hungry. Make sure that load up on protein two hours after your big meal. Good snack options: top one whole pita bread with mustard, tomato slices, lettuce and two ounces of sliced turkey or chop a medium-size banana and mix with low fat plain Greek yogurt or half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese.
To snack smarter, make sure that you choose the right food items to eat. Remember that even snacks should be in small portions, and must be part of your total calorie requirement for the day. Don’t eat a snack just because you’ve gotten used to it. Grab a snack only when you are very hungry or because you need an energy boost between meals.