5 Ways to…snack smarter!

Even though I’m a personal trainer, I’m not always a 100% perfect model of health.  When my life gets extra busy, I find myself reaching for snacks that aren’t always what I need to fuel my body…like when I grab a small handful of chocolate chips instead of taking the extra 30 seconds to shake up a protein smoothie.

Snacks are an important part of healthy living! In my case, I rely on snacks to keep me energized and strong between clients and classes, when I don’t have time to digest a large meal. Here are five strategies that I use on a weekly basis to keep my snacks on point:

1. Choose the best available option.
Think big picture when it comes to snacktime.  No matter how the details shake out, always choose the best available option.  Are you at home or planning ahead?  Use some of the ideas below.  Are you stuck at a convenience store or vending machine while out and about? Look for real food – nuts, fruit, cheese sticks, lowfat milk, and similar items that will keep you fueled without unwanted consequences.

2. Consider a protein boost
Some of myfavorite protein-heavy snacks:

  • plain greek yogurt (with or without a small drizzle of maple syrup, a teaspoon of all-fruit preserves, a handful of berries, or another healthy topping)
  • string cheese
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • egg muffins (stir together 6 eggs, 1-2 cups of cottage cheese, a package of frozen spinach, and salt and pepper to taste; bake in a silicone or well-greased metal muffin tin for 35 minutes at 350 degrees and refrigerate or freeze after cooling)
  • homemade protein bars like these

3. Get fresh
Snacktime is a great opportunity to enjoy fruits and veggies! My go-to’s:

  • sliced apples with a small sprinkle of cinnamon (not too much or you might feel like you’re in the cinnamon challenge)
  • good ol’ carrot sticks or, in a pinch, “baby” carrots
  • cucumber and bell pepper sticks
  • mango chunks with a squeeze of lime juice

4. Make it an event
I don’t like to shovel in snacks while I’m driving – I would much rather pause and enjoy my food off of a real plate.  I enjoy snack “events” like:

  • a sliced banana with 1 tbsp chocolate chips, served with a cup of black tea
  • a yogurt parfait made with plain yogurt, homemade granola, and berries, served in a pretty bowl
  • a small cup of soup topped with crispy crackers or tortilla strips
  • hot chocolate (made with cocoa powder, stevia, and lowfat milk) and roasted almonds
  • freshly popped popcorn and a flavored seltzer

5. Watch the clock
Your body may or may not let you know when it’s hungry…for me, I have to make sure to eat before I notice I’m hungry, or I may find myself ravenous in the middle of teaching a Zumba class!  I try to eat something at least every 3-4 hours, but your needs will be different depending on your schedule and activity level.  Eating more frequently may help keep your metabolism high, so try not to go too long without a snack!

 

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