With so many women making fresh commitments to their health for 2010 in both healthy eating and exercise, I thought I’d share some snacks that will help you feel full between meals. As a former personal trainer, I’ve tested these out and know that they contain solid nutrients, protein, proper carbohydrates and essential fats.
Maybe it’s the growling in your stomach or a 3pm afternoon craving that has you searching for a snack between meals, whatever the case, you’ll want to focus on eating foods that make you feel full but are healthy too.Too many people eat sugar and carbohydrates all day and wonder why they constantly feel hungry. Your body needs a nice even balance of essential fats, protein and carbohydrates. If you overindulge in one and forget about the others, your body will let you know!
The first step is to make sure you are eating properly during mealtimes. If you are eating a lot of grains like white pasta and rice- or worse, mostly sugar like candy bars, chips and soda, but no form of protein, you will constantly feel the need to eat, which brings about the need for multiple snacks. The best thing to do is ensure that at each meal you are eating protein, carbs and fat. An example might be toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit like a bananas or a small bowl of berries. The fat and protein are contained in the peanut butter but the toast and banana will give you some sugars for energy too. Lunch might consist of salmon over a salad with several veggies and a light dressing. Dinner could be a chicken breast with asparagus drizzled with a bit of olive oil and some wholegrain rice.
Once you’ve balanced out your meals (and likely made them healthier at the same time) then you’ll need to know what to eat during snack times. It has been proven several times over that eating 5-6 smaller meals are far more effective at both keeping you feeling full longer and losing weight as well as speeding up your metabolism, than eating only 2-3 larger meals all day long. Plan to eat smaller meals and incorporate the following as snacks in between major meals and once after dinner. Chances are if you eat a really early dinner, say before 6pm, and you stay up late, you’ll be very hungry by about 8pm. Try some of the following ideas as substitutes for your regular choices.
12 Healthy, Balanced, Filling Snacks
1. Slice up a whole apple (add some cinnamon if you like) and spread with low-fat plain cream cheese or peanut butter or you can add a couple thin cheddar cheese slices. The protein and fat in the cheese coupled with the fiber in the apple will help keep you feel full. You know what the say-an apple a day…
2. A handful (about 15 pieces) of nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pecans are best.
3. Bananas are perfect, they contain both potassium and magnesium which play vitally important roles in: nerve transmission; protein and carbohydrate metabolism; muscle contraction; and in maintaining cellular integrity and water balance.
4. Whole Wheat crackers with low fat cheese or cream cheese spread
5. Whole Wheat pita bread wedges with hummus
6. Homemade granola with shredded coconut, dried cranberries, raisins, and an assortment of nuts. (You’ll need only a small handful only or a 1/4 cup to measure)
7. A yogurt cup of whole yogurt like plain low-fat Greek yogurt (not sugar free which is full of toxic aspartame) which is very high in protein, with some fresh berries mixed in such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
8. An egg is a great snack. You can make a batch of hardboiled eggs ahead of time and eat one with a little pepper, ketchup or salsa and add some crackers or a small piece of toast.
9. A protein smoothie is one of the most fun snacks, you’ll need a blender or hand blender to mix the ingredients. Add some frozen fruit, a bit of yogurt, some soy, almond or cow’s milk and you can also add a scoop of whey, soy or vegetarian protein powder to ensure you’ll get enough protein.
10. Cottage cheese can be added to both sweet and savory foods. Eat ½ cup inside half of a cantaloupe or add some fresh berries instead. If you like savory, add some tuna.
11. Veggie sticks and a healthy dip like tuna mixed with ½ cup of cream cheese, you can add some minced onion and chopped parsley to taste. Chili sauce can be added and blended in the food processor and stored for an easy-to-grab snack.
12. Wasa bread or whole wheat crackers with thin slices of Swiss and a bit of ham for a ham and cheese fix.
Remember to eat the proper portion sizes, crackers and cheese are a yummy snack, so it would be easy to get carried away to the point of it being a dinner size portion. You can solve this by ensuring that all of your snacks are around the 200-250 calorie range. Just measure it out according to the serving size and avoid adding extra fats, salt, artificial sweeteners or sugar.
I hope this has inspired you to try some new snacks that are not only healthier for you but will truly fill the hunger gap between meals. I encourage you to look online for new and interesting snacks that can easily be made ahead of time and brought in reusable containers with you to work or on the road, which is when we’re all most susceptible to choosing the wrong snacks. Also, by keeping hydrated you’ll feel full and it will help increase your metabolism. You can add in the healthy amount of water in cups (which is your weight in pounds divided by 14).
One of my newest favorite snacks is from Celebrity Personal Trainer Harley Pasternak, and can be found HERE.
If you have a favorite healthy snack, leave a comment and share it with everyone.