The subject of snacking comes up quite a bit with my clients. Is it okay to snack? Should we be snacking and if so, how much? What type of snacks are "allowed"?
Snacking is not decadent or indulgent. Snacking should be considered an essential part of your day, but not in the way that you might have grown up with - a bag of Doritos in front of the latest MTV video. Let's get real. I am talking about something nutritious and filling, that will stabilize your blood sugar and help take you from lunch to dinner (or breakfast to lunch). When you get too hungry you are bound to set yourself up for overeating that might not stop until you roll into bed. Snacking helps beautifully with this.
So, what is a proper snack? A snack is a "small portion of food or drink generally eaten between meals". A proper snack does not come wrapped up in a package, a bag, have ingredients you can't pronounce, is a soda or sports drink or full of sugar. Remember, we are trying to stabilize our blood sugar, not make it go haywire. Snacks typically have a combination of filling protein and fiber, as well as an emphasis on fruits or vegetables - all with the goal of filling you enough so that you are not going for seconds and thirds at dinner.
If your idea of a snack has words on a label that scream "Low Fat!" "High in Antioxidants" or "15% of Daily Value For Calcium" try my top snack ideas that are easy and healthy. No gimmicks, no needing to give you a hard sell, just simple goodness.
Popcorn - did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? Sprinkle a little Parmesan and sea salt.
Plain yogurt with berries and almonds - I always tell my clients to "add in". Start with plain yogurt, if you need a little sweet, drizzle some honey, you will get a tenth of the sugar compared to fruit sweetened yogurts.
Green Smoothie - spinach, oranges, mango, chia seeds for some protein - a perfect midday snack.
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie - filling, creamy and delicious. Click HERE for a great recipe.
Vegetable Bean Soup - make a big pot of this at the beginning of the week. Brothy and low calorie.
Sliced Apple with Almond Butter
Carrots with Hummus
Trail Mix of Almonds, Walnuts, or Pistachios with Unsweetened Dried Cherries
Wasa Crispbread topped with a few thin slices of Sharp Cheddar and Apple
Hardboiled Egg with a sprinkle of Sea Salt and Pepper
Roasted Sweet Potatoes - having a sweet craving? Try these, roasting makes them sweeter.
Any Roasted Veggies
Guacamole with cut up Veggies or Rice Crackers. Or try this Avocado Tofu Dip.
Small Toasted Whole Wheat Pita stuffed with Baby Spinach and a slice of Cheese
Brown Rice, Quinoa or any leftover grain warmed and topped with Salsa and Beans
Bean Dip with cut up Vegetables
Sliced Avocado on top of a Whole Grain Toast, sliced baby Tomatoes, drizzle of Olive Oil, salt and pepper (my favorite right now)
An Orange with a small handful of Nuts
Any Fruit or Vegetable (they come in their own package!)
What's your favorite snack? Please share in the comments below!
Heather Carey, M.S.
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