Unhealthy snacking can be the great saboteur of an otherwise healthy eating plan. Often I speak with clients and friends who tell me that they start their day off right with oatmeal and berries, make sure they get their vegetables in at lunch and dinner by eating salads and veggie soups, only to be completely side-tracked mid-day and after dinner with unconscious eating that includes cookies, candy, chocolate and handfuls of nuts. The nuts are okay, but not by the bag full. So despite their efforts at making sure that they are meeting their vegetable, fruit and fiber requirements for the day, they still find themselves feeling sluggish, unfocused, depressed and unable to lose weight. Needless to say, they are also feeling frustrated.
Snacks can be tricky. We ask ourselves, ‘how bad can one cookie be?’ and the answer is—it depends.
One cookie often leads to two or three or even ten before we finally push the packet away in disgust. A cookie after lunch can be a catalyst to ice cream after dinner. And one 60 calorie cookie added to your diet every day, changing nothing else, can prompt you to gain 6 ¼ pounds at the end of one year. So as you see, one cookie can have consequences.
So the trick is to have these treats infrequently. Keep your home and office free of these snacks to avoid temptation. Like I tell my clients, once these foods are in the house, they call to you, they know you by name and they start talking to you in their own beguiling language. Once they are there, you’re done, unless you have the will of Hercules. But if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.
Instead, keep on hand healthy snacks that are available to you when you have a craving. Although an apple doesn’t come close to a Snickers Bar, it will definitely help you avoid the candy if you eat it first. If you make it a point to go for the healthy stuff, you are far less likely to give in to the sugary stuff. Being prepared is the key. Buy what you need for your home and office and make a commitment to yourself to eat the healthy snacks first, before giving in to temptation. Healthy snacking will elevate an otherwise average eating plan to a fantastic one.
Here are some healthy snacks to get you started. My favorite is the apple with almond butter. The sweetness of the apple combined with the protein and fat in the almond butter satisfies both sugar and fat cravings and delivers balanced, healthy energy. But remember, it has calories, so try not to exceed the one tablespoon serving size on the almond butter.
Healthy, Quick Snacks
- Apple slices with 1 tbsp almond butter
- Rice cake with 1 tbsp almond butter
- Celery with 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/4cup hummus and handful baby carrots
- 10 olives
- Piece of fruit and handful of nuts
- 2 cups popped popcorn