By Sahar Kosari, Dietetics Student
You’ve just finished dinner and sat down to watch your favorite show. It doesn’t take long before you start craving something salty or sweet to munch on. So of course, you head into the kitchen to grab some potato chips or perhaps some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Before you know it, your show is over, and you’ve devoured the entire pint.
We snack for many reasons, because we are hungry in between meals of course; but sometimes because we are bored, lonely or anxious. According to a recent report from Mintel, “Snacking Motivations and Attitudes US 2015,” 94% of Americans snack at least once a day. It’s easy to mindlessly graze on snacks, especially when they’re within our reach. Here are a few healthy options to help you snack smarter:
1. Fruit and Nut Butters
Fruit provides a significant amount of fiber, which increases satiety. Pairing fruit, such as apples or bananas, with a tablespoon of natural nut butter will help you feel fuller longer. Nut butters are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as protein. Fiber, good fats, and protein take a longer time for us to digest, therefore keep us more satisfied.
Smoothies are a quick, easy and satisfying snack. There are many different recipes out there, but feel free to be creative and experiment with your own ideas. Blend together low fat milk, yogurt, and whichever fruits or vegetables you like. Add in ground flaxseeds or chia seeds for added fiber and omega-3s, as well as nut butter or protein powder. You can also add a piece of ginger or turmeric to increase the anti-inflammatory content but remember to add a bit of black pepper to further enhance the bio-availability of the turmeric.
3. Veggies and Hummus
Vegetables also have high fiber but contain a good amount of and water which also helps fill us up. Carrot sticks, celery, snap peas and bell peppers are great alternatives if you’re craving something crunchy. Add some hummus, a good source of protein, and you have a quick on-the-go snack.
To avoid the lure of the vending machine, plan ahead and spend a few minutes planning and packing your snacks. Carry a small bag with you whenever you’re in need of a quick fix!
“A Snacking Nation: 94% of Americans Snack Daily.” A Snacking Nation: 94% of Americans Snack Daily. 9 July 2015. Web. <http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/a-snacking-nation-94-of-americans-snack-daily>.
Clark, Michelle J., and Joanne L. Slavin. “The Effect of Fiber on Satiety and Food Intake: A Systematic Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition (2013): 200-11.
Mattes, Robert D., and Penny M. Kris-Etherton. “Journal of Nutrition.” Impact of Peanuts and Tree Nuts on Body Weight and Healthy Weight Loss in Adults. 2008.