Don’t think of snacks as a way to fill cravings, think of snacks as a way to fuel your body’s energy! By choosing healthy snacks such as whole fruits and vegetables, nuts or a piece of cheese with a whole grain cracker, you will be providing your body with healthy nutrients to help keep energy levels up. When it comes to snacking, consider these tips from my Stop The Clock Nutrition Plan. They can help you avoid what I call “nutritional zeros” – those common foods (often snacks) that really add no value to your healthy lifestyle:
Think mini. Beat your urge to over-snack by buying snacks in single-serving packages or buying a larger bag and portioning out into smaller containers.
Go for the good stuff. Indulge your sweet tooth with an expensive piece of “designer” dark chocolate instead of a convenience-store candy bar. As you eat, close your eyes and savor each tiny nibble. Your taste buds will think “treat” and you will be satisfied with less.
Check the label. Many cereals, granola bars and other healthy-sounding foods may contain a lot of added sugar. Watch for ingredients such as corn syrup, fructose, sucrose and dextrose. If these items are listed near the top of the ingredient list on the nutritional label, switch to another brand. Women should try not to have more than 25 grams of added sugar in their diets each day.
Don’t leave home without good-for-you snacks. You know the feeling: You’re at work, at the mall or stuck in the car when you get the munchies or a pang of hunger strikes. The solution: Keep an emergency bag of dried fruit, an apple, or some nuts in your pocket, glove compartment or close at hand.
Get busy. Boredom can be one of your waistline’s worst enemies! Instead of snacking, use listless moments to do the things you’ve been meaning to do. If your hands are busy they’ll be less likely to find their way into the chips and cookies!
As for healthy snacks I like to keep on hand, I try to eat a small amount of foods that are rich in antioxidants when I need a snack. Antioxidants are vital to overall health, especially as we age: They may decrease the risk of infection, boost your immune system and help minimize damage to cells that may accelerate aging. Here are some delicious antioxidant-rich snack suggestions!
Berries. Especially blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Make it a point to have a mix of these on hand, and eat them plain, mixed up with a little milk or almond milk as a smoothie, or with a piece of cheese if you need a little extra snacking.
Walnuts. I love walnuts, especially toasted up with a little salt and cayenne pepper on them to satisfy a salty craving. They are so good for you, too – win-win!!
Kale. Another wonderful snack is my Crispy Kale recipe. It’s so healthy, and kale is chock full of antioxidants!
Finally, here are some simple snack swaps to keep your healthy eating on track:
And don’t forget to drink water – sometimes hunger pangs are due to dehydration, so before you start snacking, drink a glass of water – your cravings may pass!!