Platter of fruits and vegetables

Mindful Munching: Tips On Preparing Well-Balanced Snacks

One thing that can sink this year’s healthy nutrition plan is mindless snacking.
With many people staying home these days, unplanned munching can become an all-day event. Your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets are probably just a few steps away from any room in your home, right? Have you been making more frequent trips than you care to admit? Me, too!  

But when you get hungry between meals, what can you eat without sabotaging your wellness goals?
I have some scrumptious suggestions. When it comes to snacking, planning and preparation are the keys to honoring your nutrition plan.

Balanced snacks are the secret to satiety. What constitutes a balanced snack? To help curb hunger, your snack should be a satisfying balance of healthy complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein.  

Things to Consider when Preparing Your Wholesome Refreshments

Stock up on whole foods that are packed with fiber and vitamins. Stick with plant-based selections. I always try to have a few apples and seasonal berries on hand, as well as containers of unsweetened, nondairy yogurt, and nut and seed butters.

Prepare your snacks in advance, a few times a week. Chop up some fresh sweet peppers, carrots, jicama, celery and cucumber, and place them in a container in the refrigerator. And make plenty of dip so it’s ready for scooping.

Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose apple slices with nut butter, veggie sticks with hummus, and berries with plain yogurt.

All of the above suggestions are balanced snacks, but let’s review just one from the list to see how it measures up. Why does hummus and veggie sticks qualify as a balanced, nutritious and satisfying snack? The vegetables supply the good carbs and phytonutrients. The hummus (made with chickpeas, olive oil and tahini) also supplies good carbs as well as healthy fats and protein.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Can’t I use chips or crackers with my hummus, TK? Why are veggie sticks a healthier dipping choice? First of all, legumes have a hefty carbohydrate count. Pair them with chips and crackers and you’ve got way too many carbs for one snack, not to mention the additional fat, salt and calories that chips and crackers bring to the plate. Comparatively, fresh veggies balance your snack nutritionally and reduce the calorie and carb count.  

Try making smoothies for a tasty pick me up. My book, Sip the Garden: Fun, Easy Drinks for a Healthier Family — offers luscious superfood recipes that are a great alternative to traditional smoothies that tend to be laden with excess sugar.  

Avoid sugary snacks and simple carbs. Sugar has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, headaches and erratic behavior. Become mindful of the “extra” sugar you are ingesting. For instance, juice and dried fruit have more sugar than fresh fruit.

Begin to limit your consumption of processed foods like deli meats, cheesy spreads, refined crackers and chips. Processed foods are loaded with fat, sodium, sugar, preservatives and artificial additives. No wonder they have a long shelf life.  

After consuming a bag of chips, have you ever wondered why you feel full but not satisfied? Because there are few nutrients in that heaping portion of empty calories. I have discovered that balanced snacking reduces cravings and leaves me feeling satisfied for extended periods of time.  

Mindful snacking will supply you with the energy you require, keeping your engine humming while working on your transformation goals. What types of snacks do you enjoy? Pick whole foods you like and prepare in advance. I like creamy and crunchy. Vegan bean dips and sauces and dressings prepared in my food processor provide the smooth and creamy texture I crave, and the fresh, raw vegetables bring on the crunch.

Consider This
Looking for a quick, well-balanced, nutrient-packed recipe? Check out Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, a previously-posted snack that will delight your taste buds. Have fun experimenting with your favorite legumes and create a signature dip to share with your family.

Four Steps to Nourish, Transform and Flourish
• Today, set a loving intention to snack healthily during the week.
• Begin by shopping for whole foods and preparing your snacks in advance.
• How will enjoying a few wholesome snacks during the day versus snacking all day on processed foods, help you maintain your wellness goals?
• Close your eyes and visualize how this lifestyle change can prepare you for your amazing second half.

Need help devising a nutrition plan?

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In love, peace and health--
Your feminine glow guide,

T. Kari Mitchell, M.Ed.
Motivational Speaker
Certified Holistic Health Coach

When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.