Satisfy those cravings in a healthy way.
Snacks can be your best friend when you choose wisely. Some will help you stay slim while others supply a boost of energy or satisfy that sugar craving. No matter what you choose, make sure it’s healthy.
Here are 8 simple ways to get started.
Strategy 1: Plan Ahead
If you stock both your office and your home with healthy items, you’ll be able to assemble a snack to satisfy any craving, whether sweet of savory, in less time than it takes to slide a dollar into a vending machine. Use this shopping list as a guide on your next grocery run:
- Raw vegetables
- Fruit, dried or fresh
- Low-fat Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter
- Turkey jerky
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Part-skim cheese sticks
- Canned/pouched tuna in water
- Cherries (1 cup) + almonds (10)
- Peach (1 sliced & grilled)
- Berries (1/2 cup)
- Orange (1) + pistachios (30)
- Puree 1/4 cup cottage cheese
- Low fat vanilla Greek yogurt
Stir in 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder.
• Apple (1, chopped and baked in microwave for 1 minute) + almonds (10, chopped). Sprinkle with cinnamon.
• Banana (1) + walnuts (5 halves)
- Cherry tomatoes (1 cup) + low-fat mozzarella cheese stick (1)
- Olives (5)
- Celery (1 rib, sliced) + peanut butter (1½ tablespoons)
- Cucumber (1 cup, sliced) + tuna (3 ounces with 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise)
- Grapes (½ cup, whole) + turkey jerky (1 stick)
- Pea pods (1 cup) + hummus (4 tablespoons)
Junk food won’t tame your appetite for long. Instead, try this combo, which satisfies hunger for hours and delivers important nutrients, too.
Healthy Snack Combos
Produce (fruit or vegetables such as an apple, blueberries or carrots provide fiber and water to get you full fast) plus a protein (a small serving of healthy protein such as cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, nuts or hummus digests slowly, keeping you sated).
The Good News on NoshingBetween-meal snacking is on the rise and now constitutes a quarter of our caloric intake.
Do it right, and the dietary habit carries numerous health benefits. Here are two to consider:
It will curb your weight. Adults who eat frequently during the day are less likely to be obese than those who relegate their food consumption to fewer sittings, according to a University of Massachusetts study. The theory? Healthy snacks keep you from overdoing it at meals—which can result in consuming fewer calories.
It will improve your work output. In a study published in Population Health Management, employees who grazed on healthy fare while at work were 66 percent less likely to report drops in productivity than those who gorged on junk food. That’s because the refined carbs in junk food give a short spurt of energy followed by a “sugar crash.
“Strategy 2: Make Yourself Work for a Treat
It’s easy to be tempted by junk food when it’s within reach. In a study by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, office workers who had a jar of chocolate candies on their desk ate five more candies a day than when they had to get up and walk six feet to get to the jar.
Those five candies could add up to 125 extra calories daily, or 12 pounds in a year!
Given the power of proximity, it’s wise not to have treats on hand—purge your pantry and empty that junk-food drawer at the office. That way, if you really want a treat, you’ll have to go out of your way to get it.
Curb Temptation at WorkMake a list of the free treats (doughnuts, brownies) that are usually handy around the office. Choose your two favorites (chocolate chip cookies, say, and vanilla cake).
Allow yourself to indulge in a small portion of those once a week at most, but skip the rest.Understand the difference between a treat and a snack. Just because you eat something between meals doesn’t mean it’s a true snack.
Snacks should be fairly robust nutritionally and a regular part of your diet. Treats, on the other hand, have little nutritional value (think cookies, pretzels and soft drinks) and should be indulged in only occasionally.
Tune in to Your HungerYou might think you’re feeling hunger pangs when in fact you’re struggling with anxiety, exhaustion or some other unpleasantness.
If your instinct is to tamp it down with a fatty or sugary fix, instead ask yourself, “Am I hungry enough to eat an apple?” If the answer is yes, have a small, healthy snack. If the answer is no, you’re probably not truly hungry.
In that case, here’s what to do instead if you’re tired:
- Drink water. Getting hydrated can lift your lethargy.
- Listen to music. A tune you love can instantly boost your mood and energy levels.
- Go for a walk. This gets your blood flowing, and that can alleviate exhaustion.
- Take a short nap. Even 10 minutes can leave you feeling refreshed.
If you’re tense:
- Stand up and touch your toes. Stretching your muscles can ease physical and mental tension.
- Make a to-do list. Writing down your many tasks can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
- Call a friend. Venting or just catching up for five minutes can put your troubles in perspective.
- Sip hot tea. A warm drink can have a soothing effect.
Try these steps and see if you not only lose weight but also save money too!