When you’re looking for a good snack to keep yourself energized during a busy day, it can be extremely tempting to reach for a bag of chips or something equally indulgent. Giving in to temptation like this can quickly rack up calories while offering poor nutrition in return, and it’s much better to choose a healthy snack option instead.
The next time you’re feeling hungry in between meals, refer to these 5 tips for choosing healthy snacks–your body will thank you!
1. Opt for natural foods when possible
A frequent issue with commonly-available snack foods is how overly processed they are. As a general rule of thumb, more processed means less healthy. You can’t extend blind trust when a food label features the word “natural,” either–the requirements that must be met in order to earn this label are hardly impressive.
The best way to make sure your food is as non-processed as possible is to check the ingredients list. Look for organic food coloring and natural flavoring ingredients, and avoid artificial colors and flavors when you can.
2. Look for the right buzzwords
While certain buzzwords on packages such as “natural” are held to looser standards than you might think, not all are quite so misleading. Some words are held to rigid standards in terms of food contents, such as “fat-free”, “light” and “low sodium.
The food contained in packaging labeled with these terms must meet a specific set of criteria in order to earn those titles, making them more honest indicators of how healthy a snack food really is.
3. Come up with a snacking routine
When you plan your snacks ahead of time, you’ll be far less likely to reach for some junk food once the hunger pangs start. What’s more, keeping to a predictable snacking schedule that features a healthy food item can improve your chances of maintain a healthy lifestyle in the long-term.
The mindset encouraged by planning your snacks in advance might surprise you with its effectiveness in terms of resisting temptation. When you preemptively decide to eat something healthy that afternoon, you’ll probably find it easier to stick to a previously-made healthy decision than it is to make one in the moment.
4. Be present while you snack
Whenever your lifestyle permits, snack mindfully. This means setting aside your phone, turning off the TV, and setting aside whichever project you’re working on. When you pay more attention to what you’re eating, your rate of satisfaction will go way up.
Taking the time to mindfully enjoy your healthy snack will help prevent you from feeling the temptation to grab something extra and less healthy later on.
5. Combine food groups and macronutrients
When planning meals and snacks alike, it’s crucial to make sure you’re combing macronutrients. The macronutrients that you want to combine in order to create a well-rounded snack are protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
When you make sure that there’s an element of each macronutrient in your snacks, they’ll be far better at giving you that energy boost you crave and keeping you satisfied throughout the day.
It’s certainly tempting to reach for a simple, low-effort snack such as a bag of chips or a cupcake for your mid-afternoon snack, but those obviously aren’t the healthiest choices. Whenever you feel the urge to succumb to temptation, remember these 5 tips for choosing healthy snacks instead!
Read labels carefully and look for organic food coloring and flavoring in your snack food’s ingredients list, or plan ahead and routinely bring your own all-natural snack foods. Make sure you’re getting a good combination of macro-nutrients in your snack, and take a few minutes to set other tasks aside and enjoy it mindfully.