Snacking on healthy items throughout the day can be very beneficial to our health and is an important part of our diet. When many people think of snacking, they often associate it with mindlessly munching on junk food. However, snacking can be a healthy habit if it is done right. Snacks high in fat, sodium and sugar such as candy bars and potato chips should be avoided as much as possible. These types of snacks burn quickly in the body, which can leave you feeling hungrier than you were before you grabbed a snack. These items are also very high in calories, contain few nutrients, and can contribute to weight gain. Properly planned healthy snacks can aide in the prevention of overeating, help us lose weight, keep blood sugar balanced, improve mood, and help us focus better.
- Prevention of Overeating: We all get hungry between our meals. Without snacks between meals, we are more likely to indulge and overeat at mealtime. Pairing healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruit with nuts, low-fat dairy or other protein items, can help keep us full. These items are also higher in fiber, which contributes to satiety.
- Keep Blood Sugar Balanced: Snacking between meals can help to avoid major spikes in blood sugar levels. Snacking is especially important if you are diabetic and have difficulty maintaining blood sugar levels. Pairing high-fiber carbohydrates with healthy protein sources is also a great way to control your blood sugar.
- Help Us Lose Weight: Snacking plays an important role in weight loss. Small, frequent meals throughout the day help keep our intake and output consistent. The key is to eat healthy snacks that satisfy your hunger and keep the calorie count low. Snacking on healthy, nutritious food will help to control hunger and allow you to incorporate more nutrients into your diet.
- Improve Mood and Help Us Focus Better: When your body burns the food you have ingested, it reacts by slowing down, which leads to tiredness, crankiness, and the inability to concentrate. Snacking can help keep your energy levels up throughout the day, as well as prevent the onset of foul moods that may affect your productivity throughout the day.
Healthy Snack Ideas
- Hummus & veggies
- Peanut butter & celery sticks
- Plain Greek yogurt & almonds and/or berries
- Apple slices & almond butter
- Hard-boiled egg & piece of fruit
- Roasted chickpeas
- Fruit & mixed nuts
- Rice cake & peanut butter
- Apple & low-fat cheese
- Whole-wheat crackers & tuna
- Air popped popcorn & almonds