Smart Snacking

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I saw a commercial this morning for Pop-Tarts mini crisps and it really made me think - how many people out there consider something like this to be a normal choice for a snack?

I haven't done any research on this product- but I can tell you without even looking up the nutritional information that they are full of processed, refined sugar and carbohydrates. There are plenty of choices for snacking out there similar to this, 100-calorie packs, etc. - and many of us turn to them to keep us going in-between meals.

What is it that you look for in a snack? For me, I'm looking for something nutritious and tasty, that will help me feel full and satisfied until my next meal, and will help me reach my daily nutritional goals (fiber, calcium, protein, etc.). Even though there are 100-calorie packs for almost any and every kind of processed snack food out there- not all calories are created equal! For me, it's important to consider how my snack is going to make me feel, and how I'm going to benefit from eating it (Am I going to feel satiated and full? Am I able to get in an extra serving of fruit or vegetables?)

Here are some of my favorite 'go-to' snack ideas:

- 1 whole piece of fruit (apple, pear, banana, etc.)
- 1 cup of chopped fruit or grapes/berries (I like trying different combinations, like 1/2 cup strawberries and 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup papaya and 1/2 cup kiwi, etc.)

*Fruit/vegetables and 'dip'
- 1 pear/apple sliced with 2 tbsp nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter)
- Vegetables (carrot, celery, cucumber, sugar snap peas, bell pepper strips) and hummus
- Vegetables and yogurt dip (6 oz. plain non-fat greek yogurt with 2 tsp taco seasoning or cumin, salt pepper and lemon juice)

*1 oz. nuts (almonds, unsalted or lightly salted cashews)

* 6 oz. Yogurt - I love Greek yogurt! I try to stick with non-fat plain when I'm at home, but on the go I will sometimes get 2% or 0% Chobani (the ingredient list is fairly minimal) It's important to check out the sugar content before you select a flavored yogurt - some brands/flavors are loaded with as much sugar as a can of soda!

*1 piece of bread (toasted or not) and 1 tbsp nut butter/sunflower seed butter - I love sprouted grain bread (Alvarado St. Bakery and Food for Life make some wonderful choices - and they are a great source of protein/fiber)

*Fruit/vegetable smoothies - I usually load my smoothies up and make a meal out of them, but if you need a bigger snack (working through your regular meal time, exercise class during meal time. etc.) this is a good idea. You can make one with less calories but reducing the ingredients (1 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds, 1 frozen medium banana and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk - add in 1 cup fresh spinach or other greens if you're up to it!)

*Home-made energy bars - I have two recipes that I uploaded to Spark Recipes:
No-Bake Natural Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Maple Cranberry Peanut Butter Oat Bars

-There's no baking and little prep involved with these, you can wrap them individually and have them ready to 'grab and go' in no time, and both recipes taste really good (my husband took some of each to work and even his least health conscious guy friends approved!)

How do you snack?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    that's one of my problems planning and eating a proper snack and then stopping when i have eaten it and continue on
    3198 days ago
    Your idea of snacks sound so much better than the picture!
    3198 days ago
    One of the things I like about the Primal/Paleo diet is that it's helping me focus on the quality of the food I eat, not just the nutritional content. Those pre-packed foods can be so easy to grab -- but the overall quality of natural foods is so much better.

    I just need to get in the habit of remembering that!

    3199 days ago
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