Lots of people have questions around snacking. The most common questions I get from my clients are:
So today, we are going to focus on addressing these questions and leave you with some guidelines and options for healthy snacking.
Should I Eat Snacks?
Let me just start off by saying that snacks are more than okay to eat and that they are so important! That said, snacks are only beneficial if you eat them when you are truly hungry and if they are comprised of healthy foods.
Most of us structure our eating habits around our work schedules during the week. This means that breakfast typically happens between 6 am and 7 am, lunch is around noon to 1 pm, and then dinner is served after work, usually around 6 pm to 7 pm. That is about 6 hours between meals!
How often should I eat?
First and foremost, always listen to your body. Most people find they feel the most energized if they eat every three to four hours. What’s more important than that though, is tuning in and asking yourself if you are truly hungry.
Waiting too long between meals causes us to feel like we are starving by mealtime. When we are starving, we compensate by overeating, then we feel uncomfortably full. This habit turns into a terrible cycle of starving and stuffing ourselves. Small, sensible snacks between meals can help to prevent this cycle from occurring and enables people to make more sensible food decisions.
What should I eat?
Consider snacks a “mini-meal” and include a little protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, whenever possible. Snacks should range from 150 – 300 calories depending on individual calorie needs.
Not sure what fits that criteria? No worries, we’ve done the work for you! See below for a list of healthy snacks.
Here are some great snack ideas to help get you started:
- Yogurt with granola and honey or a few almonds
- Cottage cheese with fruit (if canned fruit, make sure it’s packed in it’s natural juice, not syrup)
- Fresh fruit with string cheese
- One handful of your favorite nuts with fresh fruit
- A whole-wheat pita spread with hummus
- Half of a turkey or peanut butter sandwich
- Two rice cakes spread with almond butter
- Apple slices or celery sticks with peanut butter
- Whole-grain or whole food-based granola bar (I love Lara and KIND bars)
- Two cups of salad greens with 1/4 cup beans and 1 tablespoon salad dressing
- One fruit leather with Greek yogurt
- Two graham crackers with one tablespoon of peanut butter and a banana
- Raw vegetables with two tablespoons sour cream dip
- Once ounce of organic corn tortilla chips, salsa and one fourth of an avocado
- One half cup dried fruit