Whether you’re one of the 50% of Americans who have started the New Year off with the goal to eat healthier, or are simply looking for a more satisfying way to curb those mid-afternoon cravings, we’re here to help.
Today, we’re breaking down a few tasty tactics to help you build a better-for-you, filling snack that keeps you feeling fueled & focused all day long. Read on for the delicious details & foodie facts to help you fight mindless munching!
Snack Hacks: Tips to Help You Stay Full, Fueled, & Focused
It Takes Two
When it comes to whipping up a more satiating snack, it’s important to include foods that fall into at least two of the three macronutrient categories (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats). When we pair foods that fall into at least two of the macronutrient categories, we’re more likely to feel true fullness and sustained energy thanks to the nutritional benefits each offers.
For example, carbohydrates (particularly of the complex variety) provide energy and help us maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When paired with one of the other two macronutrients (both of which are known for increasing our perception of fullness & keeping us satisfied longer), we’re less likely to experience an energy crash that leaves us rummaging for whatever sugary, salty, treat you’d typically find in a vending machine.
Focus on Fiber
Fiber is a snack time MVP. Because it’s slow to break down and digest, it plays a huge role in crushing hunger and increasing our sensation of fullness. Plus, because it’s slow to break down, fiber helps to regulate blood sugar by preventing the spike and crash pattern seen after we consume simple sugars (we’re looking at you, candy bars).
If you’re looking for the fullness factor with your snacks, we suggest adding at least one fiber-rich food into the mix. Some of our favorites include brown rice cakes and crackers, whole-grain oat based-bars & granolas, whole wheat breads, whole grain cereal, & surprisingly good-for-you favorite, popcorn.
Fill Up on Fresh
While snacks like dried fruit and veggie sticks may be convenient, they don’t do much for crushing hunger. Not only do these snacks typically include an unnecessary amount of additives and sugars, each is also relatively calorically dense, meaning that it packs a lot of calories into a small serving size–in other words, not much bang for your buck.
An easy way to step up satiety at snack time is to swap out these items for their fresh counterparts. Not only do fresh fruits & veggies provide a healthy dose of filling fiber, but it also boosts the volume of your snack without adding many additional calories. Plus, because fruits & veggies typically have a high water content, you’ll also get a nice boost of hydration from your produce-filled snack. Since thirst is often mistaken for hunger, this is another easy way to fill up at snack time.
Be Mindful with Your Munchies
When we’re hyper focused on weight management and diet, it’s easy to initially fall into the trap of ignoring our cravings. However, in the long run, this can actually be detrimental for your healthy eating goals. Let’s paint the picture:
3pm hits and you find yourself craving something salty. Your mind starts spinning, thinking of what options you have available–do you go for the apple you packed from home? Or do you cave and hit up the office vending machine to snag a bag of potato chips?
In the above scenario, both options ultimately do you a disservice. Say you go with the apple-while healthy, yes, this snack option does nothing to satisfy your craving for something salty. And the potato chips? Yes, it may satisfy your emotional hunger, but with low nutritional value, the chips won’t do much for your actual, physical hunger. In both instances, you’re likely to feel MORE hungry and less than satisfied post-snackage.
Next time you find yourself hit with a craving between meals, tune in to what you actually want & then build a satisfying snack that checks off a few of the above nutritional wish-list items, like fiber content or macronutrient breakdown.