|Apples and peanut butter are a sweet, healthy midday snack.
Q: I have highs and lows throughout the day from not eating enough. I was told to add snacks to my daily diet. Can you help me with some suggestions of healthy snacks and how I can add them into my daily food intake without gaining any weight?
-D, Russell- Coto De Caza, CA
A: Healthy snacks are the key to any health and wellness plan. When trying to control your weight, eat proper portions and make better food choices, healthy snacks are essential.
People tend to believe that eating less is better! Quite to the contrary! Eating constantly throughout the day ensures your metabolism continues to function, and prevents extreme hunger at meal times. Extreme hunger at meal times can be dangerous to your healthy eating plan for several reasons. First, when a person is very hungry, they tend to lose their rationality and are less capable of making proper food choices; second, when a person experiences hunger their portion sizes at meal times tend to be larger to satiate that hunger; finally, hunger sends the body signals that there is potential starvation/famine along the way and the body tends to store fat. It is for these reasons that healthy snacking is actually good for you!
Almost any clean fresh food qualifies as a healthy snack; it all depends on what you like to eat! One of the biggest obstacles I find that clients face when trying to change their diet is they really don't know what healthy foods they even like! I suggest a person write a list of their top five favorite fruits and veggies, and then start creating meal and snack ideas from this list. Keep in mind, a snack is NOT a meal and therefore it must be lower in calories and consist of small portions, but it should be substantial enough to hold off extreme hunger until your next meal.
Below is a list of some healthy snack ideas to choose from to keep the weight off and your body running optimally! Keep in mind this list is not exclusive and can be added to or modified depending on your personal preferences.
Healthy Snack Ideas:
- Fat Free Greek yogurt with granola and or fresh fruit
- Protein shake - with or without fresh fruit
- Handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds) and fresh fruit
- Unsweetened/unsalted trail mix
- Protein bars- low sugar
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cottage cheese- with or without fresh fruit
- Fresh raw veggies and hummus
- Apple with 2 tablespoons Peanut or Almond butter
- Cup of soup
- Left over portion from lunch or dinner
- Bean salad
- Whole grain pretzels
- Sugar free jello
- Air popped popcorn
- Low fat cheese and whole grain crackers
- Pickles, olives, carrots
- Frozen fresh fruit-mangos, grapes
- Cherry tomatoes
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