Do you want to know a secret to sticking to a healthy eating plan? Never let yourself get too hungry. That’s it - it sounds so simple. Yet, why do we turn to high calorie, high sugar and high fat foods so frequently throughout the day? Often the blame falls on the fact we either skip a meal, go too long without eating or we are so busy and rushed we grab a quick fix food filling us up temporarily but quickly leaves us feeling unsatisfied.
To stave off hunger we have to be prepared. Keeping hunger at bay during the day allows us to stick to a healthier eating style promoting our health and well-being without leading to unwise food choices.
Plan to have on hand foods offering healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Keep them stocked in your kitchen, office or gym bag and you’ll have the convenience of snacks that not only are healthy but actually taste good too. Be inspired by these easy, effortless snack ideas to put together today:
· A (small) bag of nuts – Any nuts will do – walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews – they all provide healthy fats of either omega-3 fatty acids or monounsaturated fat but also are packed with protein and fiber. Keep the portion size reasonable at about 1/3 cup, toss in a few pieces of dried fruit providing variety and this snack will satisfy you until your next meal.
· Low-fat cottage cheese and fruit – Just a ½ cup of cottage cheese provides 12 grams of protein and when topped with fresh fruit, it’s a winning snack combo. The fruit will provide fiber to squelch hunger and give a boost of vital nutrients promoting health.
· Popcorn and peanuts – Who doesn’t like whole-grain, fiber rich popcorn and when mixed with peanuts it’s a fun and fulfilling snack. Peanuts provide protein along with a host of vitamin, minerals, and phytochemicals. The satisfying crunchiness will keep any hunger pains at bay.
· Hummus and fresh veggies – This awesome twosome provides a good source of fulfilling protein along with plenty of fiber making it a tummy-filling super snack.
· Almond or peanut butter with apple slices – Whether it’s almond, peanut or any other kind of nut butter, when paired with a fruit like apple slices, it’s always a winner. All nut butters provide a dose of healthy fats along with protein and fiber satisfying even the hungriest of us out there.
· Hard-boiled egg with whole wheat crackers – At 6 grams of protein and a natural source of vitamin D, an egg is an oval wonder and when paired with fiber-filled whole wheat crackers, it’s just about the perfect snack.
· Easy guacamole with veggie sticks – Love guacamole but without the hassle? Try this quick version by mashing the pulp of one avocado with 2 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite salsa. Pair it with a variety of fresh vegetables cut into sticks or rounds (carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, etc.). When pairing both avocado and fresh veggies providing fiber slowing down digestion along with avocado’s beneficial monounsaturated fat content, your hunger will be quickly quieted down.