We eat for many different reasons. We eat because we are hungry, bored, stressed, sad, happy, and pretty much every emotion in between. The ultimate goal would be to eat only in times of physical hunger, but that is not always the case. Below are some healthy snacks to try depending on your mood and hunger level.
If you are feeling hangry (hungry and angry) go for a hearty snack that includes some protein and healthy fats. Both protein and fat can help keep us full longer than carbohydrates, which digest more quickly. For those times that you are very hungry, make an at home McMuffin. Toast half of a whole grain English muffin, top with an egg and 1/4 of an avocado. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. You can use a precooked hard boiled egg to reduce prep time and clean up. (250 calories, 8 grams protein) For a sweeter take, try peanut or almond butter, thinly sliced apple, and cinnamon sprinkled on top (215 calories, 5 grams protein).
If you are feeling bored and really need a snack just to keep your mouth or your hands entertained, go for something low calorie and crunchy. Like celery and red bell pepper sticks. Celery is fibrous and takes a little time to chew so it can keep your mouth occupied for a while. Red bell pepper is flavorful and filled with nutrients like vitamin C. Winning combo for a low cal snack. ( 20 calories, 0.5 grams protein).
If you are craving something sweet, back away from the ice cream carton and try this instead. Vanilla Greek Yogurt with raspberries and two tablespoons whole grain cereal mixed in. For the chocolate lover replace the cereal with one tablespoon mini dark chocolate chips. (190 calories, 12 grams protein)
For the salt seeker, pass the potato chips and say hello to the edamame. Edamame is naturally low in sodium, but with a sprinkle of salt or garlic it can satisfy that salty craving. Edamame is a great source of vegetarian protein and it is also high in fiber. (1/2 cup serving = 95 calories, 8 grams protein).
If you feel like going to the movies and you know you can’t resist that buttery smell the theaters waft through the air, go prepared! Bring your own air popped popcorn and one skinny cow chocolate bar. That way you can have your treats and you don’t have to pay those ridiculous movie theater prices or buy GIANT candy bars. Whats worse, when you buy a popcorn at the concession stand they are most definitely going to guilt you into buying the extra grande soda because it is only twenty cents more. Just say no to super sizing. Say yes to bringing an extra large purse to sneak your loot into the theater. (1 skinny cow chocolate bar plus 3 cups air popped popcorn = 225 calories, 4 grams protein).
Did you know that you can air pop popcorn in the microwave in a brown paper bag? Read how here.
Those are some of my favorite snacks. What healthy snacks do you enjoy?