Eating healthy doesn’t only apply to what you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You also have to consider what you’re eating when you’re snacking, especially since most people like to have a couple of snacks during the day.
Having a snack can help you focus, which can come into play if you need an energy boost between meals. Just as you make healthy decisions for meals, it’s important to make smart choices when you’re thinking about snacks to make sure you’re feeling great and have the energy you need.
You might be wondering, should we be consuming healthy snacks only? Snacks are shown to be part of a healthy diet. However, “healthy snacks” as used for food products is smart marketing to make consumers think the plantain chips are better than potato chips. It’s better to think about “healthy snacks” as what they are– processed food. Processed doesn’t mean chemically mutated into something harmful. Processing can mean removing water or adding ingredients such as fat compared to the natural form therefore increasing the caloric density. Processed food is not to be feared or over-vilified. Instead, we simply need to understand the caloric, macro, micro contributions of food selections to our diet.
A common thought is that eating apple chips is better than eating conventional potato chips. This may be true but a registered dietitian will need to ask some questions to make sure it’s an appropriate choice for your diet:
- Are you consuming enough calories?
- Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables within those calories?
- Are you eating enough protein within those calories?
If your answer is yes to all three questions, you can eat either of those chips. If you answer no to any or all questions, then it is a good start to try to hit those standards first.
It’s also a smart idea to make a habit of eating a few different types of snacks. You can do this by following these simple steps:
- Plan your snacks for the week and make them on Sunday night
- Mix things up by adding protein, such as peanut butter to really keep your hunger under control
- Keep the skin on fruits, which gives you extra fiber and will help you feel fuller, longer
Get Better Snacking Habits
The dietitians at Behavioral Nutrition can help you put a plan together so you can make sure your snacking habits complement the rest of your diet. Contact us today to learn more about how we can set you up for an initial appointment with a registered dietitian to help you find sustainable solutions that will help you improve your diet.