When hunger strikes, you’re just not yourself. You might get “hangry,” irritable or a little unfocused. Maybe you’re one to get fatigued or feel a little shaky. These are tell-tale signs that it’s time for a snack! The problem is, what are you reaching for when your stomach starts to rumble?
To Snack or Not to Snack?
Snacks get a bad reputation because we associate them with extra calories. Most conventional snack options are also processed, so a lot of extra ingredients may be added. These are your potato chips, fruit snacks, m&m trail mix, candy bars, snack cakes, etc.
Snacking isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. In fact, a small snack when hunger strikes can be a very wise decision. You can sharpen your focus, calm an uneasy stomach, feel a burst of energy and even prevent mindless snacking later on in the day.
The key is to practice smart snacking and also to be prepared. If you have nutritious options already on-hand, you can kick hunger to the curb while still keeping your calories in check.
Ideas for Low-Calorie Snacks
Nutritious snacks don’t have to be boring or flavorless. They can also fill you up and keep you satiated. Try these low-calorie snacks for when you’re reaching for something small.
No-bake Energy Balls
Similar to protein bars, homemade energy balls are a filling and tasty treat. You can make them with chia seeds, flax seed, natural peanut butter, sugar-free chocolate chips, old fashioned oats, almonds and more. Mix your favorite ingredients in a bowl and roll them into bite-size balls for serving sizes of about 2-4. Just be careful of your sugar content.
Low-sodium Nuts and Cheese
Instead of a cheese or peanut butter sandwich, pair lower calorie nuts (macadamias, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts) with low-fat cheese (cheese sticks, cubed cheese, cheese slices). Both additions give you plenty of protein, energy and essential fats.
Veggies and Hummus
If you can’t get past the taste of raw veggies, pair them with a protein source like hummus. Experiment with hummus flavors (roasted pine nut, garlic, red pepper) and different veggie combinations (broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, celery).
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
A fall favorite! Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, potassium, magnesium and other minerals. After you dry them, toss them in a bowl with a little salt, pepper and olive oil. Then bake them in the oven until they’re toasted enough for your taste.
Chicken Salad Base
Chicken salad can be prepared with mayo, Greek yogurt or even smashed avocado. Enjoy it in a lettuce wrap, on top of whole grain crackers or cucumber slices, or even on its own.
Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Otherwise known as Caprese, this power pair offers protein, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and more. Switch-up the style of this dish by using cherry tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese balls, or turn this dish into a salad or kebab on a skewer.
Want more information on healthy snacking? CLICK HERE to see a previous blog post.