Friday, August 24, 2012

Structured or planned snacks can be a great way to stay on track at mealtimes. Snacks should be like balanced, mini meals… not excuses to have ½ a bag of potato chips or a bar of chocolate (although that’s ok on occasion!) If you find yourself ravenous at lunch or dinner and eat until you are stuffed, then snacks might help you control portions. 
Or maybe by the time you get home, you are so hungry that you head right to the refrigerator or pantry and snack uncontrollably… an structured snack earlier in the day might be for you. It is harder to choose healthy meals when you are starving, your body wants sugar, salt, and fat to fuel up- when we get to this hunger level our food choices may not be so good.

First, ask yourself where your hunger is at… 0 being starved and 10 being overly full. Are you physically hungry? Or it is an emotional or mental hunger? Some people find it easier to control their mealtime portions if they have a small snack when their hunger is at 3 or 4, that way they can be more mindful of their food choices. Use hunger, not time of day as an indicator for a snack- if you are not hungry, then a snack isn’t really necessary.

If you are looking to eat out of boredom, stress, sadness, (aka emotional hunger) I would ask yourself if eating will make you feel better. If you decide that food will help, you may be using food as a way to cope difficult emotions or situations. You may find that there are more successful ways to cope with these emotions, tune in next week for a blog-post about that!

What does a structured snack look like?
-It’s balanced
-Its filling and satisfying
-Its between 100-200 calories
  • Pick a carbohydrate (fruit, whole grain, milk/yogurt)
  • Add a protein or healthy fat 
  • Add fiber! (vegetables are freebies)
Sweet Snacks:
  •  1/2 cup of applesauce with 2 Tbsp granola (100 calories)
  • 2 graham crackers with 1 Tbsp Nutella or piece of dark chocolate (150 calories) 
  • ½ cup of 0% Greek yogurt with ½ cup berries (150 calories)
  • Sugar-free hot cocoa made with skim milk (150 calories)
  • 8 oz smoothie made with ½ banana, yogurt, and frozen berries (150 calories)
  • Frozen Banana Pop- Dip 1/2 banana in yogurt and roll in crushed nuts and freeze (150 calories)
  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with melon (150 calories)
  • Low sugar, high fiber granola bar (90-170 kcals)
  • 1 Apple with 1 Tbsp peanut butter (200 calories)
  • Piece of fresh fruit with 1 oz cheese (200 calories)
  • 1/2 cup trail mix- Peanuts, dried fruit, and whole grain cereal (200 calories)

Savory Snacks: 
  • Hard boiled egg (75 calories)
  • Carrots and celery with 2 Tbsp hummus or low-fat dip (100 calories)
  • 3 cups "light" microwave popcorn (100 calories)
  • Turkey and swiss roll-up with cherry tomatoes (125 calories)
  • 14 large cashews (125 calories)
  • 1/2 wheat tortilla rolled with 2 Tbsp cheddar and salsa (150 calories)
  • 1 serving of low-salt pretzels with mustard (150 calories)
    ½ English muffin with sliced tomato and 2 Tbsp part skim mozzarella, melted (150 calories)
  • 24 roasted almonds (175 calories)
  • 1 cup edamame in shell (175 calories)
  • Mini whole wheat bagel with 1 Tbsp peanut butter (200 calories)
  • 10 baked tortilla chips with salsa and 2 Tbsp chopped avocado (200 calories)
  • ½ cup cottage cheese with 2 Wasa wheat crackers (200 calories)

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