How to Snack Smarter

Snacking is a normal thing for most people. It’s a great way to satisfy your stomach between meals. In order to use the full potential of snacking, it should not be done out of boredom or habit, but rather, be well organized and planned. That’s why 5-Minute Crafts has prepared tips for you on how to snack smarter.

1. Determine the right time to snack.

Snacking time is very important. It’s best to snack 3 to 5 hours after the main meal so you will keep your blood sugar constant. Also, it’s good to snack on something before workouts or after work or school when you need an energy boost or aren’t sure when your next meal will be.

2. Snack mindfully.

Eating a meal without distractions makes you feel more satisfied and less likely to eat over the course of the day. So stop working, watching TV, surfing the internet, etc., and enjoy every bite. When you start eating slow, your digestion improves, and the chances of gaining extra weight are decreased. Also, the key here is to eat healthy food. Grab some fresh fruits, nuts, whole grains, veggies, or plain dairy.

3. Pair carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

Mix things up. Have all 3 macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) in your snack. This kind of combo will make you feel full till the next meal. Proteins and fats increase satiety, and carbohydrates make you feel energized. For instance, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates), or some whole-grain crackers (carbohydrate) with some low-fat cheese (protein and fat), or small smoothies with banana, milk, and peanut butter.

4. Snack on nuts.

Unsalted nuts are a good substitute for crackers and foods that are packed with empty calories. They have many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full. Still, nuts have lots of calories, so consume them in small portions. You can snack on hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, etc.

5. Choose grains.

Whole grains are full of fiber and phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. These are all good for the body. These snacks can give you energy that will last. Also, fiber will make you feel full for a longer time. Try some whole-grain tortilla chips, low-salt pretzels, high-fiber cereals, or salad with whole grains.

6. Watch for calories.

Snacks aren’t full meals, so start with a small portion, and if you feel you need more, add some. Measured in that way, it is between 150 and 300. You can try:

  • Banana or apple with 1/4 cup nuts or seeds or with 1-2 tbs of nut butter
  • 1 oz (about 28 g) of whole-grain crackers with 1 oz of cheese
  • Carrot sticks and apple slices with 1/4 cup (about 32 g) of hummus

7. Bring snacks with you.

If you want to stay away from unhealthy snacks, like the kinds from vending machines, the best way to do so is by being prepared and having your own healthy choices with you. You can take these with you:

  • Banana slices with peanut butter
  • Fresh fruit skewers with Greek yogurt
  • Peaches with soft tofu
  • Yogurt and chopped fresh fruit sprinkled with nuts or granola
  • High fiber cereal topped with chopped fruit and milk or a fortified soy beverage
  • Veggie sticks with cashew dip
  • Cherry or sliced tomatoes and a hardboiled egg
  • Whole-grain pita with baked falafel and red pepper strips

8. Choose baked, not fried.

When snacking, choose baked over fried food. Veggies and fruits that are prepared by dry heat in an oven have less oil, which is much healthier than deep-fried food. You can try some baked eggplant, potato chips, onion rings, or dry roasted peanuts.

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