Up your snack game with these three simple ways to snack better!
Half of what you eat everyday are snacks, and that's great especially if you're trying to lose weight. Snacking regulates appetite and energy levels making you less likely to overeat. But for many people, snacking is incidental or unplanned throughout the day, it's easy to overlook a bite here or there and the extra calories that go with them.
In addition to being aware of the extra calories snacks may contribute to your diet, the nutrition in those snacks is even more important. It's easy to fall for faux healthy snacks like packaged granola, cereals, trail mix, granola bars, dried fruits, yogurts and 100 calorie fat free packs.
While marketed healthy, many of these snacks are sugar bombs. Don't get me wrong, there are good brands out there but you have to do your investigative work to find them. Keep an eye on nutrition labels for added ingredients.
Be more mindful of snacks you choose by selecting nutrient dense snacks that offer a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats like fresh fruits, vegetables, hummus, plain yogurt, homemade granola bars and nuts and seeds.
3 Ways To Snack Better
Whether you're trying to get healthy or lose weight, you need to plan ahead and schedule snacks like you schedule meals. This way you know what you'll eat, how much you'll eat and when you'll eat. This is especially helpful if you have a tendency to graze or overeat.
A helpful tip --> Every morning get in the habit of inputting your meals and snacks into an app like My Fitness Pal or Lose It. This will give you a set meal plan for the day. It eliminates the last minute decision making involved with choosing a snack in the heat of a hangry moment.
Once you get in the habit of doing this, it will change your energy cues and you'll notice a difference in your energy level. You won't feel as hungry at your next meal and won't feel the need to fill up until you're stuffed. You will also be less drawn to binging and grazing.
Practice Portion Control
It's easy to load up on snacks that are essentially meals, and many healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. have more calories. It's just as easy to overeat on a healthy diet as it is on an unhealthy one which is why it is important to bring awareness to how much you're eating.
Make yourself aware by portioning your snacks the same you would your meal using measuring cups, spoons and scales. At first, it may seem silly but it's truly eye opening to see how much a single serving of something really is.
A helpful tip --> Use a muffin tin to portion food. One cavity can represent most single servings. It's an effortless way to getting started with portion control.
Practicing portion control is practicing moderation. Think of it as a sport. You can't play a sport well without practicing. The same goes with eating. You have to practice portioning food in order to get good at moderating yourself, and with a little practice, you'll be able to eyeball a serving size in no time!
Focus On Quality
Nutritional quality is just important in snacking as in meals. As I mentioned above, many snacks are marketing healthy or low calories but fall short in nutritional value. Snack better by choosing the right snack and balancing the nutrition.
Snacks should include a combination of protein, complex carbohydrates and health fats. If you're craving an apple, include a healthy fat or protein like string cheese or almond butter. Craving chocolate? Add a dozen or less raw nuts or seeds to it. Doing this will stabilize your blood sugar and make you feel fuller longer.
A Final Thought
If you find yourself having a difficult time resisting sweet or salty foods, stop and check in with yourself before eating. Have you been sleeping enough? Are you stressed or anxious? Are you dehydrated? These impact snacking behavior. Ensuring you're practicing wellness in all areas of your life. Those are ways to snack better too!