6 Simple Tricks for Healthy Snacking
I am all about the healthy snacks. Click the snack category in my recipe index and you’ll find plenty of evidence. Snacks give me the energy I need to take care of my kids, work, and home, and I find myself hungry and wanting a snack multiple times each day. Without plenty of healthy snack options, and some planning ahead, I’d be reaching for the cookies and cereal all day long.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help me keep my healthy eating goals and snack for energy. I hope these simple tricks for healthy snacking will help you stay on track with your nutrition goals, too. Life is busy, and these tips are things that you can easily incorporate into your packed schedule.
1. Fool yourself full with in-shell pistachios.
Let’s play a little trick on our appetites, ok? It is April Fools’ Day after all! In-shell pistachios make it easy to fool yourself full. You know how when you eat in-shell pistachios it takes extra work to get the nuts out of their shells? This is actually a really good thing when it comes to snacking. The time you spend shelling those pistachios ensures that you slow down and give yourself time to feel full.
Plus, the empty pistachio shells that are left behind are a visual cue for how much you’ve eaten. We’ve all had those moments of looking at an empty bag of chips and wondering where they went, right? With pistachios, it’s easy to eat a one-ounce serving and feel completely satisfied.
Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts, so you can eat more while still watching your calorie intake. A 160-calorie serving of pistachios is about 49 nuts, and if you want a 100-calorie snack you can still enjoy 30 pistachios! Those 30 pistachios are much more filling than one of those 100-calorie snack packs you can buy at the grocery store.
The best healthy snacks have a balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates for energy and satiety. I’ve been loving snacking on pistachios lately! Their flavor can’t be beat, and the salty crunch is super satisfying. I like to pair my in-shell pistachios with some dried fruit to get the ideal mix of protein, fiber, and carbs. My favorite choices are dried apricots and dried cranberries. I’m always sure to measure out the correct portion size of the dried fruit and pistachios before I start munching. With in-shell pistachios, I’m never left hungry for more.
2. Have snacks prepped and ready in your refrigerator.
When hunger strikes, I’m much more likely to reach for something healthy if I don’t have to put any effort into preparing it. If I need to peel and chop carrots, for example, I’ll probably pass on the vegetables and reach for something else instead. The trick is to do the prep work ahead of time.
Once or twice a week, I’ll chop fresh vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers and store them in my refrigerator. I also like to prep fruits like pineapple and melon and make a fruit salad that I can snack on during the week. I only add those fruits that will hold up for a few days – blueberries and grapes are other delicious additions to fruit salad. Hard boiled eggs and cheese sticks are easy to grab and provide great protein.
3. Keep a stocked fruit bowl on your counter, where you’ll see it.
When we get hungry, we are likely to reach for what we see first. If you have a jar of cookies on your counter, you are going to be eating cookies all day long. (Or, if you have amazing self control, you’ll just be craving cookies all day!) Keep a bowl of beautiful fresh fruit on your counter, and you’ll be craving the fruit.
4. Plan out your snacks ahead of time.
I try to decide what I’ll be snacking on before I get hungry. I don’t know about you, but I never make the best choices when I’m starving! Make a plan in the morning, or even the night before, and make sure you have everything ready for those snacks. For example, I might plan to have some cottage cheese with fresh fruit salad mid-morning, chopped vegetables and hummus in the afternoon, and a small handful of pistachios and dried cranberries as a bedtime snack.
It can also be helpful to keep a list of your favorite snacks next to your grocery list. When you plan for your grocery shopping trip, decide what healthy snacks you’ll want to have on hand for the week and make sure you buy any ingredients you will need. Planning ahead is the secret to healthy snacking!
5. Keep healthy “treats” on hand.
In the afternoons, I often find myself craving something sweet. A brownie would certainly satisfy my craving, but it would also leave me feeling sluggish. There are plenty of healthy options that can satisfy a craving for sweets (and carbs – my other weakness!). Homemade granola bars, a healthy muffin, or a granola, fruit, and Greek yogurt parfait are all delicious, healthy options.
6. Remember to drink water.
It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, so I always keep a glass of water nearby to sip on throughout the day. I feel so much better when I stay hydrated, and it also keeps me from reaching for other beverages that are full of empty calories. To make water more flavorful and fun to drink, sometimes I’ll infuse it with fresh berries, cucumber, and lime.
Do you have any healthy snacking tricks? Please share in the comments! I love hearing new ideas for making healthy eating fun and easy.
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