Snacking when I grew up was a “no no” – “wait ‘til dinner, eating snacks will spoil your meal.” The truth is that snacking is vital, but most people are not accustomed to concentrating on this form of eating. Instead, adults grab sugar-laden coffees, sodas and other unhealthy alternatives between meals.
Even if you are not opposed to the idea of snacking, it seems to be something that people really stumble on or simply just don’t think is important and subsequently don't plan. Snacking, however, is a key component to any nutritional program.
Our bodies are burning fuel all the time. If we overeat, the effort to digest and process the food is taxing on all our internal systems – like working overtime at your office on a regular basis. If we skip meals and snacks, our bodies will dig deep in our own systems for energy. The body may have to even use our muscle to get energy if we deprive ourselves of nutrition. That is terrifying to me because I recently learned that as we age, we naturally lose lean muscle.
We must commit to proper balanced snacking. It does not require extensive meal prep or a large time block.
Here are some healthy snacks that are around 150 calories each. Snacks need to consist of a protein, healthy fat and fiber to refuel your muscles, help target fat (did you know fat helps to burn fat?) and satisfy your appetite.
Mid-Morning Snack Ideas
- 2% plain Fage yogurt is 100 calories with a ¼ cup of fiber cereal or 40-50 calories serving of fruit.
- Half a cup of 2% cottage cheese with a ¼ cup of fiber cereal or 40-50 calories serving of fruit.
- Ezekiel Bread (80 calories), a quarter of an avocado, and some tomato slices. Sprinkle with Everything Bagel from Trader Joes.
- Two hard boiled eggs, a slice of Laughing Cow cheese (35 calories) and some jicama. If you don’t like making boiled eggs yourself, buy from Eggland's Best prepares them in easy to use bags.
- 100 calories of nuts (it’s not as much as you think) and ½ apple. Nut butters, while delicious, need to be measured because of the high calorie content. If you are trying to lose weight, be conscious of the amount of nut butter you are consuming.
Afternoon Snack Ideas
- Pacific Co. red pepper tomato soup (110 calories) and WASA crackers.
- Gluten-free Wholly Guacamole (100 calories) with veggies.
- A Turkey or Shrimp Lettuce wrap with cucumber, tomato and avocado. Squeeze on some lemon or lime juice and add some of your favorite spices too.
- Hummus (100 calorie serving) with veggies.
Just remember, it’s a small snack to keep your body fueled and stable. It’s not a meal. Drink plenty of water and the fiber in the snack will help to satisfy you.
Shop at all kinds of grocery stores, be creative. Buy your snacks for the week. Pack them up – leave them in the fridge at work at the beginning of the week. This can help take the headache out of trying to figure out what to eat in between meals, plus it will save you time and money by being prepared.
Love to hear your snacking ideas. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org