Five Minute Guide to Mindful Snacking, a guest post by Brittany Chibe
We all love to snack, from our first bite of solid foods well into old age. Snacking can help keep your metabolism optimal and stave off hanger. Though, if you’re not mindful about it, snacking can quickly turn into an all out munch fest. It’s all too easy to munch on snacks full of sugar, preservatives and highly processed ingredients, so here are a few tips to keep you on the bandwagon for healthy, mindful snacking.
Simple, All-Natural Ingredients
When it comes to snack foods, it’s easy to get hooked on chips, cookies and other things that are packed full of ingredients like high-fructose sugar, corn syrup, trans fats, sodium, preservatives and the like. One of the best things we can do for our bodies is to cut back on highly processed food items, preservatives and sugars. When you read ingredient labels, look for snacks that have limited, simple ingredients you can understand and pronounce.
Chips Can Be OK
It can be totally fine to indulge in chips during snack time. Choosing your chips wisely, however, will make the difference between a healthy snack or not. Consider buying those made from vegetable ingredients (but watch out for highly processed canola or soybean oils!), or even better, make your own. Baked chips are also a much better option than chips fried in oil. Again, always read the label and look for ingredients you can pronounce.
Sometimes we start with a healthy snack, but quickly go overboard with two or three servings too many. Pre-portioned snacks take the guesswork out of the equation and make it easy to be mindful about how much you’re eating. One packaged granola bar is just right. If you happen to find yourself tearing open more than one granola bar, you know you’ve gone too far. Nuts and cheese are some of those things we can easily eat too much of since they can be bought in large quantities. To remedy this, look for small, on-the-go packs, or simply pre-portion your own with small tupperware containers or ziplock bags.
Superfoods That Pack a Healthy Punch
You’ve probably heard about superfoods. These foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body to function at peak performance. Though, eating one superfood alone won’t cut it. Eating a variety of superfoods will ensure you have a healthy and diverse diet. Some examples of these superfoods that are great for snacking include:
- Olive oil
- Whole grains
- Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower and radishes)
Healthy snacking doesn’t have to be bland or unsatisfying. Fruit and vegetables are obviously a good, healthy choice, but they won’t satisfy everyone. Luckily, there are other tasty treats that might hit the spot and curb your cravings. Nuts and cheese are a good option, but a handful of plain peanuts is just so-so on the taste scales. Think about all the different types you can mix and match to add variety to your snacking while keeping it healthy. Goat cheese and walnuts, blue cheese and almonds, and feta and sunflower seeds are amazing and delicious combos. Add some dried fruit like cranberries, cherries and apricots, and you’ve got a satisfying and mindful snack to curb your appetite.
Watch Your Sweets
For those of us who have a sweet tooth, ditching the sugars can be tough! Indulging in refined sugar-sweetened snacks is a quick path to carrying around extra weight. Consider trading your cookies, ice cream and donuts for all natural sugars that are healthier such as those found in fruits. Cherries, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, melons, plums and other fruits are all a delicious treat that can help satisfy your cravings for sweets. If you’re on a low carb diet, watermelon, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and oranges are some of the fruits with the lowest amount of carbohydrates. You can still have your confectionery, but always in moderation.
Mindful eating is the best way to snack in between meals. When you’re hungry, you’re distracted and can’t think or perform as well. When you’re at the office, doing school work, working out, or just doing everyday activity, you’ll want to be functioning at peak performance. Remember these tips to help keep your snacking on track.