Snacking gets a bad rap, but I’m here to tell you that it can actually be used as a tool to lose weight and maintain a healthy body composition, not sabotage it.
Snacks can save you from overeating at mealtime, provide essential nutrients to your body, boost your energy and satisfy cravings. At the same time, without adopting a few basic snacking guidelines, they can have adverse effects.
With that said, I’m excited to share my favorite snacks (and snacking tips) with you.
5 Simple Rules I Follow for Healthy Snacking
- Eat foods in their natural form as often as possible. The less processed, the better. Choose an apple over a bag of chips. Stay away from labels like “sugar-free,” “calorie-free” and “fat-free.” Most of these foods are highly processed and chemical-laden. Sticking with real, whole foods will ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs.
- Find healthy substitutes. Feel like a Snickers? Try a serving size of an organic, low-sugar, dark chocolate bar.
- Create portions to avoid overeating. I know this can be hard at times, but if you practice portion control, your body will get used to those serving sizes, saving you unwanted calories and preventing overeating.
- Never eat carbs alone. To avoid a surge in your insulin followed by a crash, combine carbohydrates with a fat or protein.
- Ditch the tech. Take a moment to connect with your food and think about what and why you are eating. Eat intuitively. You’re more likely to overconsume while watching TV or scrolling on your phone.
My 5 Favorite Snacks — and How to Prepare Them
1. Apple, Yogurt and Honey
I love Greek yogurt topped with diced apples and drizzled with local honey.
2. Homemade Trail Mix
I love to mix up my trail mix weekly and add in whatever I’m craving. I make a big jar and put a ¼ measuring cup in the jar. This way, it’s easy to scoop out the amount that works for me.
Here’s an example of this week’s mix:
- ½ cup stevia-sweetened mini dark chocolate chips (Lily’s)
- ½ cup dried mango (Costco)
- 1 cup walnut pieces (Costco)
- ½ cup macadamia nuts (Costco)
- 1 cup freeze-dried blueberries (Trader Joe’s)
- ½ cup dried currants (Lazy Acres)
3. Fruit and Nuts or Nut Butter
This may be basic, but the possibilities are endless. Don’t get stuck in the “apple and almond” rut! Stick with fruit that is in season, and don’t be afraid to eat “good fats.”
- Apple and toasted sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter
- Banana and peanuts or peanut butter
- Pear and walnuts
- Strawberries and pistachios
- Kiwi and pecans
4. Avocado With Sea Salt
This is as simple as it gets with no dishes required! I’ll slice an avocado in half and toss the side with the pit in the fridge for the next day. Just sprinkle with a bit of sea salt, lemon pepper or garlic salt and eat with a spoon. Avocados are packed with protein, fiber and healthy fat.
5. Crunchy “Lettuce-less” Salad
This snack option is so refreshing and loaded with nutrients that offer energy for the 3 o’clock slump! I use a vegetable chopper and dice up one small cucumber, onion, celery, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, fresh basil or any other veggies I have left in the fridge. Top the salad with a few tablespoons of hempseeds, a dash of sea salt and pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar for a perfect solution when you just need to crunch!
Keep in mind, the snacks you consume should give your body much-needed nutrients. Diet culture may have you thinking you need to grab the “zero-calorie/zero-nutrient” foods, but that is the last thing you should do. Your body needs vitamins, minerals, fiber, energy, protein and much more to thrive.
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