We have all been there: sitting at our desks, and mid-afternoon hunger strikes! It may seem strange to add more food to your day when you’re trying to meet health goals, but some studies show healthy snacking may improve the quality of your diet!
Enjoying a healthy snack can be a great way to boost your energy, curb cravings, and prevent the hangries by keeping you feeling full throughout the day.
Often, we may be tempted to reach for a quick snack from the vending machine or convenience store. But if we give in to temptation, we’ll end up with a snack that contains added sugars and empty calories. Avoid this by preparing snacks at home for the week and carrying them with you. Or purchase simple, ready-made snacks to leave in your desk drawer. These strategies ensure you have a smart snack at your fingertips when the time comes.
Preparing snacks ahead of time also helps you adhere to the serving size of your snack item and avoid overeating. For example, if you are taking whole-grain crackers and the serving size is 14 crackers, put just that amount in a small bag or container.
Remember to read the Nutrition Facts labels of your snack items to keep track of calories and other nutrients to ensure healthy snacking is within your goals.
When should you snack?
It’s important to avoid snacking mindlessly during the day. Have a snack to tide you over until your next meal or snack towards the end of the workday to boost your energy for evening errands or family activities. Here are some intentional times to enjoy your snacks:
- Before a big meeting to help you stay focused
- Toward the end of your workday to fuel your evening errands and family activities before dinner
- Between meals when you know your next meal is far away, and you’re feeling hungry
- Midmorning or midafternoon when your energy starts to slump
What should you snack on?
Don’t be afraid to add variety in your snacks. Choosing a nutrient-rich and satisfying snack is key. Enjoy a healthy carbohydrate and a high-protein item! Or keep things simple with pieces of fruit or a hard-boiled egg. Stay away from high-fat snacks that leave you unsatisfied – like fried potato chips or items with “empty calories,” such as sodas or candy bars. Here are some quick, delicious snack ideas to stop the hangries and fuel your day:
- Crackers and a cheese stick
- Greek yogurt and sliced vegetables
- Hummus and carrot chips
- Fruit and cottage cheese
- Peanut butter and apple slices
- Bell peppers with guacamole
- Tomatoes and mozzarella
Click below to check out this short video on Smart Bars!
You can also refer to any of the websites below for more snack ideas and benefits of snacking!
This blog was written by Casey Hemphill, USPM Nutrition Content Contributor