How to Create Healthy Snacking Habits
Healthy snacking is key to staying on track in your fitness journey. As you start to feel hunger creeping in throughout the day, you may be tempted to reach for a bag of chips or a candy bar. While they may be convenient, they can make it challenging to reach your health goals.
Unhealthy snacks don’t give you the necessary nutrients you need to keep you focused and energized throughout the day. So the next time you’re feeling a snack attack, consider these seven tips to create healthy snacking habits to help you snack smarter.
1. Plan your snacks
When it comes to creating healthy snacking habits, planning is crucial. Make a list of possible snack options that you enjoy munching on. Then, plan out when you will eat them throughout the day. Some smart snack options include:
- Low-fat greek yogurt
- Multigrain crackers
- Nut butters
- Low-fat cheese
- Protein bars
As always, make it a habit to read the nutritional information to keep track of your calories and sugar intake, which can often be much higher in pre-packaged snacks.
2. Measure your portions
Just like meals, your snacks should be measured out in appropriate portion sizes. By doing so, you can prevent overeating. Remember, your eyes can deceive you! So using measuring cups, a food scale, or even counting the exact amount of the snack to make sure you’re getting the correct portion.
A good tip is to buy smaller-sized containers for your snacks. They are perfect for snacking because they help keep your portion size under control. Also, their smaller size makes it easy to put them in your backpack or purse, for fast, on-the-go, healthy snacking!
3. Choose nutritional options
In order to snack healthier, try to choose snacks that provide your body with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it needs to function properly. One way to do this is to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your snack combinations. Carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, and sliced bell peppers are nutritious vegetables that pack lots of vitamins and minerals. Dip these veggies in hummus to add flavor and make them easier to eat.
When choosing your fruits and vegetables, try to include a variety of colors in your diet. Think “eat the rainbow!” (as long as it doesn’t lead you to a pack of Skittles). This simple tip ensures you’re getting a variety of nutrients.
Common vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables include:
- Green fruits and vegetables provide lots of calcium and vitamin K, which are necessary for healthy bones.
- Red fruits and vegetables are rich in lycopene and ellagic acid that may reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Orange/yellow fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C and help immunity support.
- Blue/purple fruits and vegetables provide anthocyanins, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Purple sweet potatoes are a perfect example of this!
Tip: When choosing your fruits and veggies, look for those with the deepest colors, as they are more nutrient-rich.
4. Add variety to make them filling
One of the most important ways to take your snacks to the next level is by adding variety. Avoid sticking to just one food group, especially if you want to stay full for longer periods of time. Try to incorporate carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats into your snacks.
For example, instead of just eating multigrain crackers, add sliced turkey breast and low-fat cheese. Not only does this increase your daily protein intake, but protein-rich foods are also great at making you feel full for longer, so you avoid overeating. Some other delicious snack pairings are:
- Sliced apples or a banana with nut butter
- Multigrain crackers with string cheese
- Carrots with hummus
- Low-fat greek yogurt with fruit
- Nuts with fruit
- A granola bar with a protein drink
- Multigrain toast with avocado
Have fun creating your favorite combinations of various food groups. This way, you won’t feel the urge to eat again before your next meal.
5. Sweet snacks are okay
Did you know that by including sweet snack options, you are helping curb your sweet tooth? When it comes to nutrition, you can still enjoy all of the foods you enjoy in moderation. So, go ahead and plan to incorporate a sweet treat into your healthy snacking plan. Some possible treats could be a fruit salad or unsweetened dried fruits. If you enjoy baking, you could snack on a thin slice of banana nut bread or brownies, made by using healthy baking substitutes. Substitutes such as almond flour, soy milk, and sweet potatoes help cut down on added sugar and calories, but still make it possible to enjoy your favorite desserts.
6. Don’t forget about drinks
Not all of your snacks have to come from food — drinks are an option, too! Green tea, kombucha, natural juices, and smoothies are great ways to add nutritional value to your diet while keeping you full in between meals. If you’re looking for another way to increase your protein intake, add protein shakes to your snacking plan. They make great post-workout recovery options, too!
Remember, water is great for making you feel full longer, so keep your water bottle around to stay hydrated while you snack.
7. Healthy Snacking means mindful snacking
The most important of our health tips is to be mindful when you snack. Being mindful of the foods and the amount you eat is fundamental to healthy snacking. It is what makes the difference between choosing a healthy option over one that might leave you feeling hungry a half hour later. Over time, this mindfulness will become a habit and will occur naturally.
If your goal is to be healthy, snacks are just as important as lunch or dinner. They give your body the necessary nutrients and energy it needs to stay focused and working properly. At UpFresh Kitchen, we have delicious side items available in small portions that are ideal for healthy snacking.
If you want to take your healthy snacking habits to the dinner table, consider ordering from our healthy meal options. Our meal prep service makes it easy to eat the right amount of nutritious foods, all while taking the stress away from planning and cooking. Our menu changes every week so you will never get tired of eating the same thing. Choose from our featured meals, signature meals, and even keto options. Click the button below to start your order.