The Ultimate Guide To Healthy Family Snacking
Posted by Hain Celestial on | A Healthier Way of Life
While we were told for the longest time to avoid eating between meals, recent studies have shown that healthy snacks are essential to keep our energy up. Even more so when a hectic schedule curtails mealtimes! Snacks not only fuel our body, they put our mind on full alert. Here are 8 tips to help you pick better snacks for the whole family.
1. Choose filling snacks. While “fat-free this” and “low-sugar that” may seem like a good idea, any food that’s not filling defeats the purpose of snacking. You want to choose high-fibre foods that curb the munchies for hours. Whole grain crackers, fresh fruit, raw vegetables, a handful of nuts or vegetable chips should keep you going until mealtime.
2. Energize your breaks. Complex carbohydrates combine sugars that are key to lasting energy, plus they take longer to burn which also helps digestion. Think low-fat dairy and non-dairy beverages, nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables etc. This Shrek Smoothie combines all three and would be perfect for kids on the go… and grown-ups, too!
3. Pick your protein. To slow digestion and keep blood sugar steady, protein’s the third powerhouse of the snack world. Why not explore the convenience of… legumes? Roasted edamame and chickpeas provide loads of protein and as satisfying a crunch as traditional junk food options. Just combine 1 can drained chickpeas with some EVOO, 2 tsp BBQ spices and 1 tsp sea salt, then roast in a 400°F oven 30-40 minutes, turning often. Yummy!
What does a healthy snack look like?
4. Plan, plan, plan. Improvisation can be the downfall of a good-intentioned diet, so you need grab-and-go snacks. Homemade granola with yoghurt or a single-serve non-dairy beverage, vegetable dippers already cut (or even better yet, already portioned in zipper bags to zip out of the house!), fruit compotes, cubed cheese, you get the drift. Don’t forget to place them at the front of the fridge.
5. Always be prepared. Did you know stress can cause hunger pangs? So you really want to keep snackables handy for those hectic days. Like Little Thumb, leave snacks everywhere: in your purse, backpack, gym bag and/or glove compartment. Among great nibbles that keep well are homemade or store-bought Trail Mix, nori seaweed, dried fruit and scrumptious Veggie Straws.
6. Avoid cravings. You love to nibble in front of TV at night and that’s not going to change? Then select snacks that won’t weigh you down before bedtime. No-butter popcorn, fruit bars, frozen grapes, unshelled nuts and seeds (basically anything you have to work for that will slow you down!), or apple slices spread with peanut butter would all be great just about now.
7. Go lighter. You may also want to play around with lighter versions of traditional foods you love. Case in point: this month’s featured recipe is a Mediterranean 7-layer dip that skips guacamole and refried beans in favour of chickpea hummus, Greek yoghurt tzatziki and zesty vegetables. You won’t miss the original one bit.
8. Finally, add excitement. Spruce up favourite snacks in surprising ways. Dip whole-wheat pretzels in spicy mustard, spread natural peanut butter on a square of 70% dark chocolate, stuff dates with almond butter etc.
Looking for gluten-free snack ideas? The prospect’s not as daunting as it may seem. Cheese, dried and fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice cakes, salsa and corn nachos, even popcorn are all gluten free. A slice of Cinnamon-Raisin bread from new Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, spread with nut butter, cream cheese or tofu spread can go a long way!
Snack ideas for every food group
Do you have a favourite healthy snack you’d like to share? Drop by our Facebook page and tell us about it! We love to hear from you.