Boost your energy needs with high energy foods! Next time you take a trip with your family or heck, next time you go to work; pack some healthy snacks instead of going to the snack bar/machine. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who eat at least six times a day. I mean we all get hungry between meals right?! As long as you keep snacks small, healthy, and within your guidelines everything is good.
Many of my patients get three meals and three snacks a day because like you, they get hungry throughout the day. But what do you consider “snack” time, 10am, 2pm, midnight? Let’s take a look at some of the most common “snack” times:
- When you’re tired or need a quick pick me up
- Before a test or meeting
- Before working out
- After leaving school or work
- While watching TV/a movie or playing a computer/video game
- While you’re sitting in a vehicle
- Before bedtime
- When you’re crash dieting
Now that you are nodding your head and agreeing with me, how do you control your “snacking” without gaining 10 pounds? Try to snack smart!
- Choose smart carbs (high in fiber), which means staying away from those sweets (i.e. donuts)! Try whole grains, bran cereals, and/or brown rice instead.
- Eat well balanced and frequent meals.
- Snack on nuts! Almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews are high in protein and magnesium (which converts sugar into energy).
- Incorporate lean meats and fish into your diet.
- Incorporate leafy greens or rabbit food as some of you may call it into your diet.
- Eat a square or two of dark chocolate (yes, I said chocolate).
- Drink water!
- Eat plenty of fresh (or naturally dried) fruits and veggies.
- Drink a cup of coffee or tea.
Now of course you are like “well duh, but could you give me an example or two?” This is the same question many dietitians here day in and day out. Most patients are actually genuinely concerned and want to make sure they are snacking right, where the other 5-10% are just too lazy to think about or come up with their own ideas from the foods they love. So here are some healthy snacking ideas! Remember, many times we mistake hungry for thirst so try drinking a glass of water or tea (which provides energy especially if you add a small amount of honey) first and see if that helps!
- An apple or banana with nut butter
- Whole wheat crackers with hummus or nut butter
- A healthy/homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruits
- Yogurt with fresh fruit and/or granola
- ½ of a healthy made sandwich
- Fresh veggies with hummus
- Ants on a log (you’re never too old)
- Add honey!
I hope I haven’t made anyone too hungry! Making changes to smart snacking will not happen overnight. Like any other dietary change it takes time and starting with small steps is okay! Whether it is cutting out the soda and exchanging it for a glass of water twice a week, throwing your bag of Doritos out and replacing them with a healthy trail mix, or maybe just adding in a piece of fruit with nut butter each day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will a new habit. Stay positive and focus on your end goal. Plus, now you won’t be too tired, since you have a few tricks and ideas!