Resolve to eat better in 2015 with these healthy snack ideas
Feel a snack attack coming on?
We are all vulnerable when our stomachs start to growl—but before you snatch a stale candy cane still hanging from the Christmas tree or scavenge for a snack in the nearest vending machine—consider some healthy alternatives. After all, a healthy snack will hold us over between meals while a treat—the oft-confused cousin of the snack—will just give us a temporary sugar buzz, ending in a crash-and-burn scenario.
Here are smart snacks to keep your diet on track, broken down by times of the day when we seem to be hankering for a snack the most.
Satisfy the mid-morning stomach growls
Breakfast is but a dream and lunch seems to be so far in the distant future. Avoid pre-packaged cereal and breakfast bars (they’re loaded with sugar), and opt instead for a yogurt-fruit-and-nut combo. Keep some individually packaged, low-sugar yogurt cups in the fridge at work. Add some protein and crunch with a handful of nuts and toss in some strawberries, blueberries or raspberries (just pack extra in your lunch—find great lunch boxes for adults here) for a dose of fresh fruit.
We like to keep a container of nuts, such as raw almonds from Puritan’s Pride, in the desk drawer to help ward off hunger and boost the nutritional value of yogurt.
Afternoon “avoid the vending machine” game plan
Don’t let your pocket change conspire with your hunger pangs for a trip to the break-room vending machine. Beef jerky and Skittles are such an ill-fated combo. Avoid carbs (they’ll just add to that sleepy feeling you get around 2 p.m.), and opt for protein to power you through the afternoon. Some suggestions: A hard-boiled egg, a 3-ounce piece of skinless chicken leftover from last night’s dinner or a “deli roll-up” with a slice of turkey, piece of cheese and tomato or lettuce.
Operation television trap
We like to refer to this as robotic snacking. When How to Get Away with Murder comes on, we get sucked into the show, mindlessly snacking, and by the time the drama ends, we’ve, well, murdered the bag of chips that was in our lap. The solution: popcorn. We love Little Bear microwave popcorn from Walgreens with light salt because it’s only 25 calories per cup. Shake on your favorite herbs or seasonings and snack away without feeling guilty.
Re-power after your workout
You finished a grueling workout and the elliptical calculated for you just how many calories you burned. Now, you’re starving! And, trust us, you don’t want to decimate that hard work with a high-calorie snack. The solution: Keep a snack handy in your gym bag. We love a fruit and peanut butter combo. Slice up some apples or pack a banana and dip your fruit into some PB2, a powdered peanut butter that has 85 percent less fat calories than peanut butter. Just mix it with water and stir. (Packing tip: We like to use the Dressing to Go containers, with screw top lids, from the Container Store for our peanut butter).