Tips to Healthier Snacking

Uh oh… it’s that time of day again.

You know, that hour when you are suddenly feeling tired, unfocused, and ready for that afternoon pick-me-up. I refer to it as the Midday Monster; that little hunger feeling that creeps up and causes us to crave something tasty. The trouble is, usually that midday snack is an unhealthy one. We tend to gravitate towards something sweet, caffeinated, or carb-loaded. This is because those “feel-good” foods and drinks typically do just that – they make us feel good. Food and drinks high in sugar can cause the dopamine levels, or the “feel-good” hormones, in our brains to rise.1 Unfortunately, the old idiom too much of a good thing, rings all too true.
Take a moment to ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”

Quick Helpful Tips

  1. Try Drinking Some Water
  2. Eat Breakfast
  3. Floss/Brush Teeth After Eating
  4. Prepare Healthy Snacks The Night Before


Having a blueprint to follow for your week’s meals will help keep you eating regularly and on track, thus prevent you from skipping meals, so you’ll be less likely to snack.

-Debbie James, RDN

Overindulgence, whether it be a midday snack or a late-night one, can be harmful to our bodies. Nevertheless, quitting cold turkey is easier said than done. Old habits are hard to kick, but the key to remember is that there are ways to change poor snacking habits. It’s a process that begins with baby steps. Before reaching for that bag of chips or sweets, take a moment to ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” A lot of the time, we snack out of boredom or stress. Try drinking some water and see if that helps. Oftentimes, hunger can be confused with dehydration.2 Save yourself the unneeded calories and drink some refreshing H20.

Healthy Snack Options 

The key is to find foods to snack on that are high in fiber, which may keep you feeling fuller, longer.3 A few of these healthier options include:

  • Hummus & veggies
  • Almonds
  • High-fiber cereal bar with protein, or low-sugar protein bar
  • Raspberries

Alternatively, grab a snack that helps boost metabolism and burn fat. Some examples of these fat-burning foods include:

  • Apples
  • Avocados & cottage cheese
  • Canned tuna on whole-wheat crackers
  • Minty green iced tea

Another source of unhealthy snacking can be caused from skipping your morning breakfast.5 If you starve yourself in the morning, you typically have greater odds of overindulging later on in the day. Make sure you make time for breakfast, and save yourself later on. Another interesting tactic to consider is brushing and/or flossing your teeth after eating, which helps reduce the temptation to eat.6 Once your teeth are clean, you’ll be less likely to grab something to snack on, in order to avoid brushing again.
In addition, it is helpful to meal plan. Our registered dietitian, shared that, “Having a blueprint to follow for your week’s meals will help keep you eating regularly and on track, thus prevent you from skipping meals, so you’ll be less likely to snack.” Make things easier on yourself by preparing a few healthy snacks the night before. This way, you’re not tempted to grab something unhealthy when you’re stressed, tired, or on-the-go.

If you have a nutrition question of your own, please share it with us by submitting a question here, and your answer may be featured in a future post.

Sources

  1. Pirisi, Angela. “A Real Sugar High?” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 1 Jan. 2003. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  2. POPSUGAR Fitness. “7 Tips to Curb Your Appetite.” Shape Magazine. N.p., 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  3. Goldman, Alison. “15 Healthy High-Fiber Foods That Make You Feel Full and Satisfied.” Women’s Health. N.p., 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  4. MacMillan, Amanda. “20 Snacks That Burn Fat.” Health.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  5. Cymbalista-Clapp, Julian. “10 Bad Habits and the Best Ways to Quit Them | Reader’s Digest.” Reader’s Digest. N.p., 20 June 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.
  6. “Avoid Unhealthy Eating Habits.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017.