This week I had the pleasure of being a guest in a fitness challenge group to provide help with meals and nutrition questions. One of the topics of discussion was snacking! I shared some of my thoughts with the group, along with some healthy snack ideas; and I thought I should share it here too!
Before we get into the healthy snack ideas, I have a question for you to ponder. Why is it that you are snacking? I find that most often, when I feel the need to snack it is because I did not eat enough at the previous meal. For example, if I eat breakfast around 7am, and then am ready for a snack at 9am, it probably means I didn’t eat enough for breakfast, or I ate the wrong balance of foods for my body and my blood sugar has crashed as a result. Other times I have noticed I want to snack because I am bored, stressed, tired or even thirsty. I also used to snack at a certain time because it was just what I’ve always done, it was a habit and I did it without much thought. If this sounds like you, these are the habits I would encourage you to break. The goal shouldn’t be to avoid snacks all together, but to be more mindful around snacking. Before you reach for that next snack, ask yourself a few questions so you can be sure you are actually really hungry and in need of that food and not tired, bored, stressed or thirsty.
Now, if you find yourself in a position where you are actually really hungry and in need of a snack, give your body what it wants! I usually try to incorporate both protein and fat into my snacks (and every meal for that matter). The protein and fat will help you feel satiated and hold you over until your next meal and will help to keep your blood sugar more stable. Here are some healthy protein rich snacks, most of which are kid-friendly and portable.
Here are a few ideas with minimal prep required:
- Nut butter boat – Celery sticks with your favorite nut butter, topped with almonds, or sunflower seeds for extra texture.
- Epic Bars – Kind of like jerky, but without a lot of the junky ingredients
- Mixed nuts or trail mix, I like mine dry roasted and unsalted
- Deli rollups – deli meat (look for organic kinds) rolled with a slice of cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Pumpkin seeds
- Kind plus bars (all nut base)
- Veggies and Hummus
- Greek yogurt and fruit – look for varieties with no added sugar
- String cheese
- Guacamole and veggies
- Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil
- Tuna salad made with avocado
- Nut butter pack – I love to tuck a Justin’s pack into my purse for emergency purposes
- Sardines – if you’re feeling adventurous
- Cottage cheese
- Apple slices with cheese and walnuts
- Banana with nut butter and chia seeds
- Smoothies (so many varieties, but mine almost always contain nut butter)
If you are feeling a little more fancy, and want to make your own snacks, here are some recipes:
- Protein Bites – 1 ½ tbsp nut butter, 3tbs oats, ½ tbsp. honey ½ tbsp. dark choc chips rolled into balls
- Chocolate dipped frozen orange slices from Fed & Fit – to satisfy your sweet tooth!
- Homemade Larabars – mix dates in your food processor with nuts and mini chocolate chips until pasty and well mixed. Press into baking dish, let cool in fridge and then cut into bars. Super easy.
- Gluten Free Flax Granola from Diane Sanfilippo – perfect mix of crunch and sweetness.
- 4 Ingredient Chocolate Mint Cashew Clusters from PaleOMG.