How to Choose Healthy Snacks

Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve made healthful eating choices such as healthy snacks throughout the day but ended up hitting the vending machine in the afternoon because you needed a snack before dinner? Or have you planned your meals wisely but not factored in snacks and ended up making poor snacking choices? If so, you are not alone. Many people have also been in similar situations. In this article, we will explore various ways of choosing healthy snacks.

Choosing healthy snacks

First of all, we will talk about choosing healthy snacks at work and avoiding the vending machine. Making sure you choose healthful snacking options at work is going to require some advance planning. For instance, it is impossible to choose a healthy snack if there isn’t one available.

Healthy vegetables

Image via Wikipedia

When doing your weekly grocery shopping, make sure you add to your list the healthy things you can take to work for snacks throughout the week. Some ideas for things to bring are fruit, nuts, vegetables and dip, cheese squares and crackers. You can also consider your upcoming work week while doing your weekend baking. You could bake a batch of healthful muffins to keep you away from the donuts during your coffee break. You could also make sure you take a few minutes to chop some vegetables and put them in snack-size bags because it’s much easier to pack the vegetables in the morning if they are already cut up and ready to go.

Another idea for work snacks is to organize a few people in the office to rotate bringing a healthy afternoon snack for everyone. This way you are only responsible for preparing and bringing a snack maybe once a week. Things that could be made for the whole office are basically larger versions of good personal snacks. These options include veggie platters with dip, fruit platters, fruit bowls or a fruit salad, cheese plate with grapes and crackers, yogurt and fruit, hummus and pita chips, olives and peppers and granola bars. Sometimes at work, we snack excessively because we are thirsty. Making sure you drink plenty of water, especially if you are a coffee drinker is one way to control excess hunger. Vitamin D is also a good regulator of appetite among other things. Our main source of Vitamin D is the sun so planning on spending a few minutes outside every day is a way to stay healthy and happy. The last tip about healthy snacking at work includes making sure you get some physical activity during the day. When we are in a healthful mindset, our metabolism is fired up and we are physically active, our bodies crave healthful nourishment and we are less likely to be tempted by junk foods.

The next place healthy snacking is an important consideration is at home. One of the more common times for people to choose unhealthy snacks is between dinner and bed. How many times have we eaten a sensible dinner only to have more than our share of potato chips and cookies in front of the TV a couple of hours later?

One solution to this is to make sure to eat a big dinner. Although this sounds contrary to conventional wisdom, if we fill up on healthful options at dinnertime, we are much less likely to do any late night binging.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: nutrilover)

One way of doing this is to make sure that you are getting plenty of protein, fiber, vegetables and healthy fats at dinner. The second way you can choose healthy snacks at home is to make sure you aren’t buying things at the grocery store that you wish you wouldn’t eat. You can do this by planning out your grocery shopping ahead of time and sticking to a list.

Also, a few minutes spent in preparation such as washing and cutting fruits and vegetables ahead of time can make it more likely that you’ll choose a healthy snack at snack time. One more way to ensure you make healthful snack choices at home is to anticipate when you’ll be hungry. Many people have a snack after work and before dinner. Anticipating this ahead of time makes it possible to prepare a healthy snack for yourself the night before so that you are less tempted to go through a Drive Through on your way home from work because you will know you have a snack waiting for you when you get home. Roommates and spouses can be helpful in this situation as well. Setting a schedule for taking turns preparing snacks ahead of time can save work and make choosing healthy eating fun and easy.

Healthy snacks on the go…

The last area of healthy snacking we will explore is healthy snacking on the go. There are going to be times in every one’s life where preparing ahead of time just isn’t an option.

English: Cherries in a Grocery store in Kateri...

English: Cherries in a Grocery store in Katerini, Greece (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But it is still possible to choose healthy snacks in these situations as well. Whether it is necessary to visit a fast food restaurant or possible to stop by a local grocery store, you can still make healthy choices for yourself in these situations.

First of all, if there is a grocery store nearby, this is ideal. At a grocery store, you will have the option to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, granola bars or whatever other healthy snack you may have in mind. If there is not a grocery store available, and you are hungry, you may need to visit a fast food restaurant. But don’t despair; there are still healthy options to be found even at a fast food restaurant. For example, many Mexican style fast food restaurants will offer low-fat chicken and vegetable burritos and bean burrito options. Many burger style places will still have grilled chicken sandwich options or salads to choose from. Some places will even offer things such as fruit and yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, apple dippers, fruit smoothies and more. So it doesn’t matter where you are or what situation you are in- with a little thought and a little planning, you will find it possible to make sure that you are always choosing healthy snacks.

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