Healthy Snacks to Get You Through the Day
If you're busy but trying to live a healthy lifestyle, you know that snacking is an important part of your diet. Having the right snacks in between meals can cut down on your hunger, reducing the chance of overeating at meal time. In addition, healthy snacks can add important nutrients that you might miss otherwise. Avoid the empty calorie trap of salty or sugary snacks, but load up on healthy alternatives to reach your peak performance throughout the day.
Cut up a variety of raw vegetables as soon as you get them home, so that they'll be ready for snacking whenever the urge hits you. Slice up peppers, cucumbers and carrots, turn broccoli into florets, and wash baby carrots. Keep everything handy in zip-top bags in the refrigerator. Most vegetables are full of fiber and water, which means they will fill you up without adding many excess calories.
In the middle of the afternoon when your energy is flagging, don't reach for a candy bar or cup of coffee to give you a jolt of energy. Grab some fresh fruit for a healthy alternative. Along with fiber and water, fruit has fructose, an easily digested sugar that can give you a burst of energy equivalent to a cup of coffee. Munch a Granny Smith apple or pop a handful of strawberries for a quick, refreshing snack break that won't kill your diet.
Cut down on the sugary sodas and caffeinated drinks and substitute healthy juices to give you a refreshing break between meals. Try unusual juices or juice blends such as pomegranate juice or Monavie. Juice blends with so-called superfruits, such as monavie, contain antioxidants and a variety of fruit-based vitamins that supplement your diet. Drink your juice straight, over ice or mixed with club soda to create a healthy alternative to commercial sodas in a can.
When nothing will do but a crispy, crunchy snack, put down the chip bag and go for a healthier alternative. Air-popped popcorn is low in calories, high in fiber and counts as a whole grain. Sprinkle it with garlic powder or ranch dressing mix for a tasty alternative. Healthy nuts like almonds contain good fats your body needs, as well as fiber and protein to fill you up and keep you full for hours.
When you don't have the facilities to keep fresh fruit at your desk, dried fruit can be a good alternative. Some dried fruits are made with large amounts of sugar, so read the package carefully. Find natural food companies that produce fruit leathers and dried berries and fruit slices without excess sugar. The fiber in the fruit, along with the natural fructose, will keep you from craving unhealthier snacks between meals.