The reason I want to talk about snacking mindfully is because it can be something that hurts progress with weight loss or other health goals. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of snacking. I often hear of people confused when they eat healthy lunches and dinners but aren’t seeing results. Come to find out, snacking at night or eating a bunch in between meals with caloric drinks is happening. It could make a huge difference to become more aware of snacking.
The goal for snacking mindfully is consuming better ingredients and filling snacks. By better ingredients, I mean no unnatural preservatives. If we aren’t eating real food, then we don’t really know what is going to happen when we reach for that salty, crunchy snack that keeps us reaching for it. By filling, I mean including some protein and fiber to create a well balanced snack. We don’t tend to overeat on whole foods.
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Tips For Snacking
When you are hungry, then you should eat. Pretty simple. But try to go for more nutritious and filling food at meals to avoid being hungry later on when it’s easy to keep on snacking away.
1. Don’t keep non-nutritious snacks around
If it’s not around, there’s really no other option than to not consume. Keep what you think you don’t need out of sight and out of mind. I’ll admit, if there’s chocolate chips in my house, they’re going to get eaten. If they’re not around, then too bad for me.
2. Check if you’re actually hungry
Do something else and then come back and see if you are actually hungry. Are you perhaps roaming around and bored or just watching TV and a snack bowl is always right in front of you?
3. Drink more water
Sometimes we can feel a bit hungry if we are thirsty. If you are lacking on water intake, try that first especially if you feel snacky late at night.
4. Put snacks into a small bowl
Instead of straight out of the container or bag, so that way, the amount eaten isn’t questionable. It also gives us a perception of eating more when a small bowl is filled rather than unknown quantities.
5. Try one snack between each meal
If there is a big gap between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner, you may want a little something, but three snacks might be a lot for an adult. Perhaps if you are a child, you may want three snacks (yes, that’s okay for kids to do if they eat their dinner!) Some people are grazers instead of larger meal eaters and that’s okay.
6. Avoid late night snacking
Unless you have an overnight shift type schedule or you’re doing a late night workout, then dinner is best to be the last meal eaten. Late at night tends to be sitting around and relaxing, so adding a bunch of extra calories probably isn’t ideal for your goals.
7. Choose filling, nutritious snacks
Many snacks are chemically made to keep you reaching for more. If they are empty of protein and fiber and filled with addicting flavors, then it’s easy to eat a lot. Check the label for: Protein and fiber to be above 3 grams, higher is better. Sugar should be ideally none (unless it’s a whole fruit with no added sugar) but not above 5 grams for a packaged snack. See below for ideas.
What should a snack include?
If you’re hungry, what should you reach for? Here’s some ideas:
- Granola bar with low sugar
- String cheese
- Beef or turkey stick/jerky
- Whole wheat toast with nut butter
- Whole wheat toast with avocado
- Apple with nut butter
- Banana with nut butter
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Snack balls
- Roasted chickpeas
- Carrots and bell pepper with hummus or any dip
- Cereal with lower sugar and some fiber/protein
- Homemade healthier muffins – I love Ambitious Kitchen for muffins
- Trail mix
- Avocado with seasonings
- Cottage cheese and pineapple
- Guacamole with a veggie or chip
- Oatmeal or homemade healthy oat cookies
- Hard boiled egg
- Fiber and protein cereal and milk
- Ants on a log
- Chia pudding
What about the popular snacks?
I know there’s folks out there who just won’t budge on the crunchy salty snack. Here’s a list of some healthier snacks to check out that are husband approved.
Try to add something with protein or fiber if you do, and don’t eat the whole bag. I hope you find my photos of basic snacks enjoyable.
- Cylindrical package shaped chips from The Good Crisp Company with many flavors that are so similar to the well known brand.
- Cheese balls from Pipcorn
- Peatos Classic curls similar to the cheetah brand cheese sticks. They actually have fiber because it’s made from peas
- Peatos Classic Onion – same as the cheese curls
- Flavored triangle chips from Late July similar to the triangle shaped popular chip. Jalepeno lime is a favorite.
- Love Corn roasted crunchy corn – BBQ flavor
You can find all of these at Thrive Market (with a membership that’s about $5.83 per month). There are so many great perks of having a subscription including lots of free items and discounts. Check them out here if you’re interested and get 40% off!
Other Homemade Snack Recipes (that taste like dessert):
Kids Need Real Food – ideas for kids
Fresh Idea: Make sure snack ingredients are familiar and that you’re actually hungry before snacking away.