Grabbing pre-packaged, processed snacks on-the-go can be the main culprit of weight gain for many people, as it’s the time when we mindlessly grab whatever is available. Especially if we’re hungry, our defenses go down and we’re more likely to give in to the unhealthy snacks roaming around the office, such as candy, pastries and chips.
But most of us do need a small snack in between meals in order to stay energized, to keep our blood sugar stable, and to avoid over-eating at meals. And that is totally fine and often recommended, but it is just KEY to practice nutritious snacking, for which a little planning is helpful.
Here are 4 easy swaps that you can start applying today for healthier snack options:
- Instead of milk chocolate, try organic 70%+ dark chocolate.
Look for ones that have 5 ingredients or less, and where the first ingredient is NOT sugar. Organic dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants, and doesn't have the chemicals nor high sugar and milk levels (among other things!) that you find in commercial milk chocolate bars. And because it has less sugar, it’s much less addictive – so it does a great job of satisfying your sweet tooth, but you’ll be much less likely to overeat (as you are with the high sugar chocolate bars).
- Instead of cheese, try avocado.
Cheese can be very high in fat (not the healthiest kind of fat) and like gluten, dairy can be very inflammatory. Avocado is a great alternative that is anti-inflammatory and very rich in heart & brain healthy fats. So instead of your usual mozzarella string cheese as a snack, try having ½ an avocado with some lime, sea salt & cayenne pepper. It's delicious and so easy – just eat it with a spoon!
I also love to make my own guacamole. Here is one of my favorite super quick and easy recipes.
- Instead of regular chips, try sweet potato, beet or kale chips.
Potato chips, pita chips, corn tortilla chips – they’re all heavily processed and made with unhealthy fats, so a much more nutritious (and lower calorie) option is making your own chips using veggies and coconut oil (or olive oil if you prefer).
- Instead of granola bars, try making your own trail mix using raw nuts & seeds.
Granola bars tend to be very processed and high in sugar, with different sweeteners in addition to dried fruit and grains. So you're better off making your own trail mix, which is easy and quick, and can be made to your liking, using nuts/fruits of your choice. I always recommend using raw (or even better, sprouted) nuts that are easier to digest, vs. roasted nuts which are cooked in inflammatory oils like soybean oil or canola oil. Here is a recipe I like to use:
Remember, it's important to listen to your body and have a small snack if you need it, but be prepared by having some dark chocolate, avocados, veggie chips or homemade trail mix close by, and avoid those sugary treats that will easily lead to unwanted belly fat (not to mention mood swings, increased cravings, and more!)
For more support on getting rid of belly fat, losing those unwanted pounds, and building healthier habits, contact me!
Love and Healthy Snacking,