Snacking throughout the day is actually healthy for you. According to the market research company, NPD Group, Americans who have the healthiest eating habits are snacking twice as often as those who don’t have healthy habits.(1) In fact, this is contradictory to some more conventional wisdom.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who finds that 10:30am and 2pm are the prime times when my stomach starts grumbling or my brain starts getting foggy from a lack of nutrition. That’s when we are most tempted to reach for the snack machine or raid the employee lounge for donuts and snacks others have brought from home.
Sadly, those high carbohydrate snacks do nothing more than temporarily raise your blood sugar and then plunge your levels so you are just as tired as you were, if not more.
Time to explore low carbohydrate snacks high in protein or fat to increase the amount of time they take to digest. They will keep you satisfied and reduce the fluctuation of your blood sugar levels. The more steady your blood sugar remains, the more satisfied you’ll feel and the healthier you’ll be.
Here are some great Low Carbohydrate Snack Ideas:
1. Fruit and nut yogurt with Greek yogurt to increase the protein count. Sprinkle your own dried fruit (just a bit) and slivered almonds.
2. Make your own cereal nut mix at home with miniature shredded wheat, dried fruit (limited), raw nuts and sunflower seeds.
3. Peanut butter and celery sticks are an all time favorite. High in fiber and protein they fill you and satisfy your appetite for hours.
4. Hummus is a good source of fiber, iron and protein. Combine this with a low carb tortilla, sweet red pepper and cherry tomotoes and you have a satisfying and tasty roll up to top off your afternoon.
5. Raw almonds are filling, have more fiber than other nuts and are tasty. Limit this snack to once a week or two. They are also packed with calories.
6. Dry Roasted Edamame is a complete protein, rich in calcium and B vitamins and a single serving is only 9 grams of carbs.
7. Cold roasted green vegetables. They are filling, low in calories and carbs (depending on the vegetable – don’t include potatoes!).
8. Apple and peanut butter often tastes like a caramel apple without the sugar and carbohydrates. Make it a small apple because this fruit is also packed with carbs.
9. Hard boiled eggs, not deviled eggs, are high in protein and low in carbs. Just two will curb your hunger till dinner.
10. Carrot sticks and hummus will fill your tummy and will have less than 20 grams of carbohydrates.
If you aren’t careful, those in between meal snacks can quickly pack on the pounds, even if they are low in carbohydrates. However, when done correctly, those mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks can be your secret weapon to reduce your weight and improve your eating habits.
The best tactic is to plan your snacks ahead of time. Pack them at home and rehearse eating those snacks during the day, as well as refusing snacks that are unhealthy and high in carbohydrates.
Be sure you make your snacks interesting, and something you look forward to during the day. If you are bored with the snack, you’ll reach for the snack machine buttons instead of what you brought.
(2) Whole Living: Snacking Success
(3) Kidshealth: Smart Snacking
Top Photo by Evan Bench