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Upgrade your Health by Upgrading your Snack

healthy snacksAs with all things on our health journey, there are healthy choices and there are less healthy choices we can make. As a health coach, I encourage the people I work with to assess where they currently are versus where they want to be and then take small steps to achieve their goals. If losing weight, gaining energy, or improving your family’s diet are  personal goals, take a look at your snacking habits as a way to improve.

The best snack is one that is nutrient-dense and contains the right combination of carbs and protein. It is one that will satisfy your hunger while keeping your blood sugar stable.

Some of the following are great examples of filling and healthy snacks:

  • Carrots and hummus
  • Almond butter and an apple
  • A smoothie with spinach, a banana and sunflower seeds.

If any of these doesn’t seem feasible for your lifestyle, try making small improvements. Instead of a candy bar, go for the LaraBar. Or instead of the snack that comes in a wrapper (even if it is organic and/or gluten-free) go for an unprocessed, homemade snack. Instead of having a sugary drink with your snack, substitute water or a fresh-pressed juice. The idea is to make small changes that won’t feel like you are depriving yourself, but will add up to fewer calories and more nutrients over time.

For kids, the same applies. Do you currently grab whatever conveniently packaged (but sugar laden) item is right by the cash register? If so, consider going for one of the healthier packaged options like organic Cheddar Bunnies or a no sugar added fruit strip.

Better yet, try making your own snack bar or switching to only fruit and veggies for snacks. Often, American children fill up on snacks throughout the day and then don’t eat well at the main meals that are more nutritious.

My 5-year-old was a chronic snacker (as was I) until this year when we adopted the French philosophy of a goûter. In France children have breakfast, lunch, a 4 p.m. snack and dinner. The French kids are known for eating a wide variety of foods and are said not to be as picky as American kids.

While a fewer-snacks approach hasn’t cured my daughter of her reluctance to try new foods, there are positives. She’s more inclined to eat what I put in front of her, and it has cut down on my grocery bill too.

What are your favorite, healthy snacks?

 

Jen Loboda is a health coach for Nutritious in the City. Check out new ideas for recipes on her Facebook page, or follow on Twitter at @NutritiousCity. 


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