As I write this article, my stomach is growling. I had a light lunch and it’s not yet supper time. You might be familiar with the same, “I need something to tide me over until mealtime” feeling.
Here are a few suggestions AND a recipe to help you choose healthier snacks.
1) Balance it- Make sure your snack represents 2 food groups. For example- Carrots (VEGETABLES) and peanut butter (PROTEIN), a boiled egg (PROTEIN) and pretzels (GRAIN)or nuts (PROTEIN) and raisins (FRUIT). This will help you avoid empty calories- calories that don’t offer any nutrients.
2) Plan it- When I have baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and bing cherries on hand, I can more easily talk myself into eating those before I choose cookies or chips.
3) Portion it- Put the food you’re going to eat on a plate or in a bowl. When you eat straight from the box or the bag, it’s easier to overeat. Use your hand to help you measure- a small handful of nuts is about 1 ounce, for chips and pretzels 2 handfuls is about 1 ounce. For a printable measuring guide, go to foodhero.org and search on portion size.
3) Chew it-Chewing helps you feel full. Fruits and veggies naturally require chewing AND they contain fiber. Fiber slows the speed at which food passes from our stomach to the rest of our digestive system, helping us feel full longer.
4) Sip it-Water also helps you feel full. Dress up your water with some cucumber slices or some lemon or lime juice.
5) Snooze it-Sleeping at least 7-9 hours per night helps us eat less during the day. If you are tempted to snack right after a healthy meal, that might really be a sign that you are tired.
6) Pay attention to it- When you give full attention to what you’re eating instead of eating while watching television or scrolling on your phone, you’re more likely to enjoy your food and be mindful of making healthy choices.
Here are some easy-to-assemble snacks with 2 or more food groups:
Pop it, top it-Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on hot popcorn.
Fold-ups- Sprinkle grated cheese over a corn tortilla; fold in half and microwave for twenty seconds. Top with salsa.
Lettuce wrap- Spread mustard on a slice of turkey. Wrap it in a piece of Romaine lettuce.
Snack in a cone-Spoon some cut up fruit in a flat-bottomed cone, top with low-fat vanilla yogurt and sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top.
Snack kabobs- Thread cubes of low-fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks.
To go-Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
Spuds-Microwave a small baked potato. Top with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and salsa.
Mini-sandwich- Toast half an English Muffin. Top it with a sliced hard-boiled egg and some shredded cheese.
Apple Wows- Core and slice an apple. Place slices in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Heat in the microwave or oven until apple slices are soft. Top with 1 crushed graham cracker square