I like snacks. I'm a snacker. Especially when I am stressed or bored, which let's admit for most of us is 90% of the time. So this week's blog is on healthy snacking.
One of the hardest parts of trying to be healthy, lose weight, or just eat more clean, is trying to find healthy snacks to eat in between meals. And what works for me may not work for you. Someone who is exercising daily will need a different type of snack than someone who is looking to lose weight by diet alone. Someone who has diabetes will need a different type of snack than someone who is raw or vegan. Arming yourself with knowledge about food and nutrition is the smartest thing you can do to create a healthy lifestyle.
So what do I tend to snack on? Vegetables, nuts, fruits and sometimes whole grain crackers and chips.
- Vegetables - A small bowl full of cherry tomatoes, a baggie of baby carrots, and a handful of sugar snap peas are some of my favorite vegetable snacks. Add 1/4 cup of homemade hummus (made mostly with water instead of olive oil) to scoop with my veggies and I am a happy camper and have gotten some good protein from the chickpeas and healthy fat from the tahini paste.
- Nuts - Here's the thing I have to constantly remind myself with nuts—a handful of nuts is a great snack, but a half a bag of nuts is unhealthy and will just leave me in the bathroom for the next day. Nuts are addictive. And if you are vegan, they are a staple in your diet. Be thoughtful with regard to the proper portion and the best types of nut for your body's needs. And no, candied nuts are not a part of a proper clean eating plan.
- Fruits - Fruit is delicious! Why is it delicious? Because it has so much sugar in it. Fruit should be kept to a minimum of a few pieces a day at the most. Certain fruits have more sugar than others. Grapes, cherries, mangoes and bananas have some of the highest sugar content of fruit, while berries and citruses have some of the lowest sugar content. I'm not saying to not eat these higher sugar fruits, but just be aware of how much natural sugar you are eating on any given day. And regardless what you do, stay away from juices and dried fruit, where the sugar is especially concentrated.
- Whole grain crackers and chips - You are probably thinking it's odd that I am throwing these on the healthy snacking list. However, the right whole grain crackers and chips can be healthy and beneficial. Just remember, the less ingredients there is, the less processed they are. I am partial to Mary's Gone Crackers, as they are minimally processed and contain super seeds. If you are going to have chips, make sure they are non-GMO and try to stick with multi-grain or tortilla style which are a much better option than potato chips. And for goodness sake, take a handful and then put the bag away! In all seriousness you need carbs on a healthy diet, especially if you are exercising a lot. Just make sure you are reading the ingredient label and being wise with your choices.
Now that you know the basics of clean eating snacks, here are a few of my favorites:
Take it from a professional snacker, it's actually not hard to snack clean. You use the same principles as with planning clean meals—unrefined and unprocessed, whole grains, fruits and plenty of vegetables. Make sure you mix it up so that you don't become bored with the same old snacks. Be creative. Have fun. And snack clean.
Let's start a discussion! What are some of your favorite clean snacks. I am honestly always looking for new ideas to incorporate into my own diet.