It seems like most people try and avoid snacks because they can pack on the calories or because snacks = junk. That’s not true. Yes snacks have calories in them; but if you are using portion control and watching how many calories you are eating throughout the day, then snacking is a great idea! My husband Craig loves to snack! These two snacks are “staples” in our home.
Snacks help us get through the day and let us not over eat at meal times. They are vital to children, so shouldn’t they be vital for us as adults? Of course! Snacks provide energy for activity throughout the day as well as curbing our appetite. You know how it is after you eat lunch and then 4 o’clock rolls around; you get tired, hungry, and so when you get home you attack the pantry and fridge before you start cooking dinner. Probably not a good idea because you have now spoiled your dinner and second, you added more calories than what was intended. Therefore, if you ate lunch and then ate a snack around 3:30-4:00, you most likely won’t raid your pantry and fridge when you walk through the door. Snacks help us with our weight if eaten properly. Snacks should help you, so don’t abuse them.
So, how do you make sure you are eating snacks worth your calories? Eat snacks that are full of nutrients. For example, fiber is a wonderful nutrient- it helps you feel full for a longer period of time. Food also gives us energy, so eat snacks that your body can use and not store it as fat. Now, if someone in the office is having a birthday and you want some of that cake, go for it. Just be aware of your portion size and calorie count. I would suggest you log it and know how many calories you have left. Also know foods such as cake, cookies, chips, soda, and candies are empty calories. They are full of calories and that’s it. They don’t provide sustaining energy or help curb your appetite. I am not saying don’t eat them, but they shouldn’t make up your entire snack.
Now is the time to start planning. Plan what snacks you are going to have throughout the day and when. I choose to eat a mid morning snack as well as an afternoon snack. It is nothing huge, but enough to keep me going. Find out what works for you. You might not need a mid morning snack every morning. Remember to log your snacks and measure your portions! To help get you started, I have listed 20 of my (and Craig’s) favorite nutrient rich snacks.
The Cohen’s Top 20 Snacks
- Popcorn (I choose the light 100 calorie bags)
- 1 apple with 2 Tbsp of natural crunchy peanut butter
- Yogurt with 2 Tbsp of granola
- Trail Mix (almonds, peanuts, raisins, mini choc. chips, cashews)
- 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp PB and ½ banana
- Pretzels and string cheese/peanut butter
- String cheese and a piece of fruit
- 2 corn tortillas with ½ avocado
- Peanut butter crackers
- 1 serving of cereal (I like dry cereal)
- String cheese or hummus and whole grain crackers
- Reduced fat cottage cheese with fruit
- Mixed nuts with a small piece of fruit
- Celery, carrots, tomato with ranch or hummus
- Oatmeal with a tbsp. of dried fruit
- 1 serving of whole grain tortilla chips with ½ avocado and salsa
- 1 small (or ½ large) bagel with low fat cream cheese
- English muffin with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter
- Granola bars/Snack bars
- Fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce
Snacking is good for you so don’t abuse snacks by eating empty calories and adding to your waistline. Smart snacking is key to success!