The word “snacking” can often evoke the image of someone sitting on the couch mindlessly chomping away on a bowl of chips. But when done the right way, healthy snacking can actually help you lose weight, control cravings and keep you focused on your daily healthy eating plan.
Before we get to the list of my favorite mid-day snacks, here are a few snacking basics to remember:
1) Incorporate as many veggies as possible! The high fiber content will help keep you feeling fuller longer since veggies are really low in calories but extremely high in nutrients. What this means is that you can consume a high volume of this type of food and it will only put a small dent in your daily total calorie count. That’s a win-win if you ask me!
2) Choose only snacks where you have control of the portion size and avoid foods that cause you to over eat. A handful of nuts are a great snack! But keeping a bottomless tin of this salty goodness on your desk can quickly lead to 1000’s of calories consumed before you are even close to feeling full. You can still have them, just use these foods as a topping or condiment and not for the actual snack itself.
3) Portion control is key! Having a snack around 3pm will stabilize blood sugar and energy levels, keep your mind sharp, and will also prevent potential over eating at dinnertime. If you eat the appropriate amount of food at lunch, you should be hungry by 3-4pm. However, if you eat enough at lunch to keep you full until you get home at 7pm…You ate too much. (Or your meal was disproportionately high in bad fats or carbs.)
4) Forget standard American snacks and Cardboard Carbs. “Convenient” vending machine items and those found in cardboard packaging are typically filled with chemicals, processed carbohydrates, fake sugars and tons of salt. Focus on eating mostly real, whole food with minimal packaging so you can keep that metabolism working for you all day long!
5) Remember, “Food is Fuel.” It is not a place to turn when you are anxious, sad or bored. Avoid mindless eating by planning out what you will eat in the morning. Just follow the plan and remove those last minute “will power” based decisions.
I always recommend that my clients bring snacks from home since the quality tends to be better than store bought food purchased “on the go.”
But like most busy New Yorkers often do, if you happen to find yourself running around the city with out a healthy snack on hand, here are some suggestions that can be easily picked up while you are out.
- Oatmeal with nuts (if you didn’t already eat this for breakfast.)
- Hummus or salsa and cut veggies (easy to get at a deli or salad bar.)
- Air popped popcorn with hot sauce
- Tuna fish, lemon, sliced veggies
- A salad or a mix of lots of fresh veggies
- Plain yogurt and fruit
- Green smoothie
- Fruit smoothie with a green added (kale or spinach)
- Small macro bowl (quinoa/barley, steamed veggies, and a protein)
- Sushi roll with brown rice
Happy snacking everyone!
-Dr. Laura Miranda DPT, MSPT, CSCS*
*Dr. Laura Miranda, DPT, MSPT, CSCS is DOWNTOWN Magazine’s Fitness Editorial Director, a Doctor of Physical Therapy and certified fitness and fat loss expert. She is the founder of Strong Healthy Woman which offers Strong-Healthy-Woman fitness boot camps in lower Manhattan and elite in home training for busy women all over NYC. Follow her Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter