Let’s face it: three square meals a day just doesn’t work for a lot of people. Especially if you’re active, eating just three times may not be enough fuel to get through the day. Have you ever gone a little longer than you expected between lunch and dinner, and then get SO. HUNGRY. that you were a little lightheaded or cranky? We’ve all been there. Having something to eat in between makes a big difference!
The key is to make sure that you have something healthy that you can eat. When we get really hungry, it makes it easier for us to make unhealthy choices because in moments of true hunger, it doesn’t really matter to us what we eat–we just need to eat! That causes us to hit the convenience store for a candy bar, or the drive thru for a milkshake, or whatever your particular guilty pleasure might be.
So, how can we try to prevent these unhealthy choices? Find some healthy snacks, preferably non-perishable, that you can keep available to you at all times. The key is to think about items that have protein and/or healthy fats; these foods are going to fill you up more and keep your energy up without the crash that sugary foods bring. Here are some of my favorite snacks:
- Quest protein bars–low in sugar and high in flavor. These are a little more expensive than your average protein bar, but for me it’s worth it so I can count it as only a protein instead of a carb.
- Raw almonds–unsalted. A handful of almonds provides healthy fat that can satisfy hunger until the next meal time, and the healthy fat is good for your brain! Make sure you either get the 100 calorie packets or pay close attention to the serving size, since these calories add up fast.
- Trail mix–this has healthy fats, and dried fruit can help with sugar cravings. Dried fruit does have extra sugar, so limit this.
- Low fat popcorn–bonus points if it’s airpopped!
- Low fat string cheese–not non-perishable, but good for a quick eat.
- Low fat cottage cheese–again, perishable, but a good source of some quick protein.
- Banana and peanut butter–I love those packets of Justin’s nut butters! They are the perfect amount for a banana and make it easy to control the portions.
- Presliced veggies–jicama, celery, carrots, bell peppers, and cucumber all either are available presliced at my grocery, or they are easy to prep once at the beginning of the week for easy snacking. Paired with hummus, you have a healthy veggie with a healthy fat.
Everyone can benefit from keeping healthy snacks available in their purse, car, desk, or pantry. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?