Let's face it, we all love to snack. Not only is snacking a means of satisfying an aching sweet tooth, but it also provides a needed boost in energy and nutrients between meals. The thing is, snacking needs to be done right.
So what constitutes a good snack? A good snack should be flavourful and satisfying. It should also provide you with a moderate amount of energy and nutrients to keep your body fueled between meals. A good snack should also be low on refined starches and sugars and if it contains fats, they should be the good ones. Finding good snacks may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately mother nature has your back on this one.
An apple, an orange, a banana, a peach and many other fruits come perfectly portioned, are sweet , delicious and full of nutrients. It's almost as if they where designed by nature to be eaten between meals. With about 100 calories per serving, they're friendly on the waist line, and since they require no cooking or prep, they are perfect for on-the-go.
Nuts are another great example of a healthy snack provided by nature. A handful of almonds, cashews, or a bag of trail mix provide loads of healthy fats, can be lightly seasoned to provide a big punch of flavour, and like fruit, they make perfect on-the-go snacks.
If you've got some time to sit down and enjoy your snack, a bag of baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery sticks and several other vegetables make for delicious, low calorie snacks. Combine them with a healthy, yogurt based dip and you're laughing.
The above examples are really just the tip of the healthy snacking iceberg. If you're no stranger in the kitchen, try whipping up some healthy fruit and nut bars. You can even toss in a few chocolate chips for fun. Yogurt and fruit cups (no sugar added of course!) also make for convenient, satisfying snacks.
Browse the produce section of your super market and look for fresh fruits and vegetables that you want to eat. If it comes from the earth, it's probably good for you, low in calories and full of flavor.
The trick is to move away from the salty, sugary, processed snacks, as these foods are most often loaded with empty calories and do nothing more then promote disease, increased appetite and decreased energy. Sure, you may get a slight boost in energy after devouring that chocolate bar, but you'll get the same boost from a fresh, crisp apple. The difference is the apple, which is full of fibre, will keep you fuller for longer and unlike the chocolate bar, will not create a blood sugar crash, resulting in lethargy and further hunger.
So, the next time you're packing a lunch or find yourself in need of a quick, in between meals fix, try reaching for something a little more natural, or at the very least, a little less processed.