via – Laura Hsu, AVAC’s on-site Nutritionist
How many times do you need a little something to carry you through until dinner? If you’re like most people you might gravitate towards unhealthy options. Don’t let unhealthy snacks with limited nutritional value that are easy to overeat such as chips, cookies, milkshakes-in-disguise coffee drinks, or other empty-calorie snacks derail your healthy eating goals!
Check out these 7 tips for better snack options when hunger strikes:
- Choose a snack with protein, healthy fat or fiber for more staying power. Some examples: apple or pear slices with 2 Tbsp nut butter, 1/4 cup nuts, hard-boiled egg, or veggie sticks with 1/3 cup hummus. Nuts just may be the perfect snack. Here are some reasons why nuts just may be the perfect snack!
- Instead of flavored yogurts which are often loaded with sugar, opt for unsweetened, whole-milk options and add toppings such as berries and nuts. If you need to sweeten it, drizzle in a bit of honey or maple syrup (up to 1 teaspoon per serving).
- If you’re the parent in charge of providing snacks at your kid’s sporting event, instead of juice boxes and goldfish crackers (which is mostly sugar and refined flour), fuel your kid’s activity with more wholesome options such as trail mix snack packs, fresh fruit, or cheese sticks. Most importantly, ditch the juice box for pure water.
- A snack should be just enough to bridge you to the next meal, not be a meal itself. Don’t overdo it!
- Think about whether you are truly hungry or just bored, stressed or snacking out of habit. If you are truly hungry, have a healthy snack. If not, distract yourself by going for a walk, grabbing a book, etc, or try drinking a big glass of water. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger.
- Try making homemade energy balls or granola bars for a great portable snack. There are some great recipes out there (like these sweet & salty, chocolate chip energy bars.) Homemade will have less sugar and contain healthy fats from coconut, protein from nuts or nut butter, fiber from seeds and oats, and sweetness from dried fruit.
- Other smart snack ideas: edamame, trail mix (with nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit), whole-grain crackers with 1 oz cheese, small smoothie with frozen banana, spinach, almond milk and a scoop of protein powder.
Laura Hsu, N.C., AVAC’s Nutritionist
Email me: lhsu@AVAC.us