When you’re hungry for a snack, you aren’t likely to take the time to read food labels and portion out your servings. The trick is to plan ahead before hunger strikes so you can feel confident you made a healthy choice. Here are a few tips to help you plan.
Keep wholesome healthy choices on hand. At your desk, in the car, in your purse or bag, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Fresh or dried fruit, nuts and whole-grain crackers are great snacks that travel.
Don’t drink your snack. Calorie-laden beverages such as soft drinks, juices and coffee drinks are high in calories and not very filling. You’ll be so much more satisfied if you chew your calories versus drinking them.
Include some protein. Adding some protein to your snacks will help you feel fuller longer. A little bit of peanut butter or cheese with some whole-grain crackers is perfect.
Boost your fiber. Snack time is the perfect time for a boost of fiber. Along with protein, it will help you feel fuller longer, and help you meet the recommendation of at least 25 grams of fiber daily.
Avoid mindless snacking. This includes snacking directly out of the box or bag while watching television or in front of the computer. Eat with awareness.
Twelve Super Snacks
- Sliced carrots and celery dipped in hummus
- Greek yogurt with sliced apples and a sprinkle of wheat germ or chia seeds
- Banana or celery slices spread with natural peanut butter
- Trail mix or mixed nuts, dried fruit, whole grain cereals
- Smoothie made with skim or soy milk, fresh berries and a banana
- Whole-grain crackers with string cheese
- ¼ cup nuts and a piece of fresh fruit
- Baked tortilla chips dipped in fresh salsa
- Whole wheat pita and hummus
- Cottage cheese mixed with diced or dried fruit
- NuGo d’Lish bar with sliced veggies
- ½ whole wheat bagel spread with low fat cream cheese
Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.