If you prepare an army of healthy snacks that are ready to eat any time of day, you’ll stay full, satisfied and slim! The key to your snacking is to make it healthy and balanced, with carbohydrates, protein and even fat–yes, fat–in your snacks to keep your tummy from rumbling five minutes later. Including healthy snacks in your daily calorie budget will help you keep your cravings in check and not fall off the wagon when you are starving. Try having one before going out to dinner so you will feel full when you eat a healthier sized portion.
Take a cue from all of those 100 calorie convenience packs that are all the rage.¬† Portion out your snacks in calorie controlled sizes at the beginning of the week so you can grab and go, or simply to keep you calorie counting easy.
Food at Your Fingertips
When you are hungry, you are more likely to grab anything that is ready to eat. Pack your fridge with healthy snacks, and you’ll be happy to grab that! Cut up carrots, celery and broccoli and keep a container of low-fat (and protein rich) hummus on hand, and your snack will feel as indulgent as veggies and dip. Hard boiled eggs and boiled and lightly salted edamame are great snacks to prep at the beginning of the week and keep you satisfied until Friday.
Just as important, pack your veggies and other healthy snacks in clear containers or baggies at the front of the eye-level shelf in the fridge, so they grab your attention when you open the door. Pack your less healthy leftovers in opaque containers to hide it from your hunger pangs.
Sweet and Satisfying
There are certain times of day when our sweet tooth is in full effect. We try our best to ignore it, but despite our best efforts, ice cream, chocolate or candy seems to call to us! It seems the harder we try to stay away from it, the more we indulge! Calm your sweet cravings with a snack that is healthy as well. Try a banana or apple slices smeared with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter for a sweet snack that fills you up more than fruit alone. Stock your fridge with less typical fruits like pineapple, blueberries, cantaloupe cut into chunks, or candy-sweet clementines, and you just might not need that candy bar after all!
For a super indulgent-tasting treat,¬†but with vitamins and calcium instead of guilt,¬†skip the ice cream and blend¬†a tasty smoothie in your own kitchen. Fill your blender with a 1/2 banana, 4-5 strawberries (frozen or fresh) 4 oz non-fat plain yogurt, 1/2 cup orange juice, a splash of milk and a drizzle of honey. Toss in a handful of ice cubes and blend away! Only have fruit yogurt on hand? No worries–omit the honey and use fruit flavored yogurt instead.
Trick Your Mind and Your Mouth
For about 150 calories, you can fool your mind into thinking that you ate a full plate, by eating something meal-worthy as a snack. There are a number of cereals out there that pack a nutritional punch and satisfy, since your brain registers that as a meal that you’d eat in the morning.¬† Keep your serving size in check and you’ll still be full, but you won’t over-do it.¬† Grab a handful of the cereal dry if you find yourself having a major daytime snack attack. Check your label for added vitamins or a wallop of fiber, and you’re doing double duty, keeping your tummy feeling full much longer.
Check out the low-cal frozen dinners at the supermarket as well.¬† They usually have easy-to-spot calorie counts on the front of the box, many weighing in under 200 calories a pop.¬† Stop and have your snack so your brain registers that you’ve eaten.
The only thing left to¬†do is to carefully plan your snacks to beat them to the finish. Listen to your body and know when it’s hungry, then you can plan to have a nosh before your growling stomach gets the best of you.