Snack Smarter

Take a smart approach to snacking (Photo credit: Wiktory/Shutterstock)

Every afternoon around 3PM you start feeling a bit sluggish and you head down to the coffee shop for a cookie or to the vending machine in the cafeteria for a bag of chips. If this describes your typical day at the office, then you’d be wise to start planning a healthier snacking strategy so you can get your metabolism off that blood-sugar rollercoaster and so that you don’t balloon up by year end. By planning your snacks, you have a strategy in place that’ll help you avoid making the vending-machine trip. Some advice to get you on the right snacking track.

Control your portions

Snacks shouldn’t have the same amount of calories as a meal. When buying packaged snacks, even if it may be more cost-effective to buy one large bag of potato chips, for example, as your afternoon guilty indulgence, we all know that it’s hard to resist having “just one more chip.” Having access to a snack-size package helps ensure you won’t overindulge.

Rethink what constitutes a snack

The word snack often makes us think of packaged goods, such as a chocolate bar. But what not pack snacks that are smaller versions of meals or appetizers? Hummus and a platter of veggies your go-to app? Prepare it and take a small portion of each every day so you have it to dip into midafternoon. Loved peanut butter and banana as a kid? Enjoy half a sandwich using natural peanut butter on whole-grain bread after your morning meeting (the protein and carbs combo will satiate you well).

Hydrate well

We’ve got to break it to you: you may be fooling yourself many days. How’s that? You may think you’re hungry and need a snack, but you may just be dehydrated. Drink water when that craving hits and see if that makes it go away (and start to always keep a bottle of water handy so you can sip throughout your day).

Satisfy your sweet tooth with natural foods

Although a small square of dark chocolate is fine, avoid candy bars and candy to avoid getting a sugar rush from the processed sugars. Work on incorporating sweets such as whole fresh fruit or some dried fruit so you can satisfy your craving for sweetness whlle getting vitamins and minerals.

Snack your way to a more balanced diet

When you know what your meals throughout the day or week are (for example, you know you have dinner with a client at a steak house), plan your snack so that you can get some food groups into your snack that you know you’ll be missing out when you have a ribeye for dinner or that salad you brought for lunch.

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