One thing that can sabotage a healthy nutrition plan is indiscriminate snacking. And with many people staying home due to the pandemic, 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. Have you been making more frequent trips than you care to admit? My hand is raised, too.
But when you get hungry between meals, what can you eat without blowing your wellness goals? I have some delectable suggestions. When it comes to snacking, planning and preparation are the keys to keep you on a sustainable 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.
Mindful Snacking — Things to Consider when Preparing Your Refreshments
➢ Stock up on whole foods that are packed with fiber and vitamins. Stick with plant-based selections.
➢ 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. Make plenty of dip so it’s ready for scooping. And have a few apples and seasonal berries on hand, as well as containers of unsweetened yogurt, and nut and seed butters.
Here are a few scrumptious ideas to begin enjoying this week: Choose apple slices with nut butter, veggie sticks with hummus, and berries with plain yogurt. And delight over the luscious superfood beverage recipes from my book, Sip the Garden: Fun, Easy Drinks for a Healthier Family — a great alternative to traditional smoothies that tend to be laden with excess sugar.
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.
➢ 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 are not satisfied? Because there are few nutrients in that bag of chips. I have discovered that balanced snacking reduces cravings and leaves me feeling satisfied for extended periods of time.
Why are veggie sticks a healthier dipping choice than chips or crackers? 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.
Mindful snacking will supply you with the energy you require, keeping your engine humming. What types of snacks do you enjoy? Pick whole foods you like and prepare in advance. I like creamy and crunchy. Vegan bean dips, 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.
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 others.
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.
Certified Holistic Health Coach
When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.