Sunday, November 13, 2011

The "What can I eat that's healthy?" Series (Part 4: Snacks)

Now that we've covered all of our meals, it's time to talk about snacks. We all know that eating just three meals a day isn't always the best way to go about life. Especially if you're living the fit life. I eat three meals and two small snacks each and every day (and that's not just because I'm pregnant).

But snack time, like most meals, can also be a very confusing time. This is where the food industry gets us...or rather, doesn't get us. Our grocery store aisles are packed with processed foods, most of which are complete junk. And when we need a snack, we tend to grab whatever is easiest, which means it's super important to have easy, healthy snacks on hand at all time. Even if you have to stuff your pockets, purses and desk drawers.

Who cares if other people think you're a walking grocery store, right? You prefer to eat healthy, thank you! So what exactly should you eat? I mean, besides fresh fruit? Well, I can't tell you what you SHOULD eat...only YOU can determine that. But I can tell you what snacks frequent my rotation. Snack time is, after all my favorite time.

Laughing Cow Cheese
So good on fresh pears and apples (try it), even better with some Kashi crackers. But what I love most about these chunks of goodness is not necessarily the cheese itself, but its portability. Each package comes with individually wrapped serving sizes. Perfect for portion control and portability.

Rice Cakes
Buy the plain kind, then top with nut butter and fruit. Or cheese (see above) and veggies. They provide just the right amount of carbs. And crunch...'cuz sometimes you really just want a snack that crunches in your mouth. At least I do.

Snack Bars
I love 'em, but they're tricky. They get bad for you really quickly, which is why it's essential that you read labels. I like Pure Bars and That's It Bars, I'm also a fan of LUNA Bars. And here's the thing—don't feel like you have to eat the whole dang thing in one sitting. Sometimes I just eat half, saving the rest for later. Or the next day.

I praise the benefits of hummus at every opportunity. Learn to love it if you don't already. Learn to make it at home, too. It's so easy. Just mash up a can of chickpeas with some olive oil and garlic. Use crackers and veggies to get the stuff into your mouth. And if you don't already have some, buy a few little plastic containers so you can transport it.

Do not, under any circumstances, forget about applesauce! Buy the unsweetened kind and add some cinnamon. You could always make your own, too. But the store-bought kind works just as good in terms of a healthy snack.

Peanut Butter
Yep, I do the spoon thing. A serving size of peanut butter is usually about a tablespoon or two. Translation: A spoon full of peanut butter. It's tasty and filling, so why not? 

Silk Pure Dark Chocolate Almond Milk
A glass of this stuff satisfies my sweet tooth, that's for sure. It doesn't have as much protein as you might think, what with the almond reputation and all, but it's thick so I still find it to be filling. I've even added it to instant coffee to create a mocha of sorts.

1) Don't forget about Greek Yogurt. Also a delicious snack.
2) Pay attention to serving sizes. They are not as big as you might think.
3) Buy snack-size baggies for on-the-go munching! (That way, you won't have to stop for fries.)

And so, that's that! Plenty of ideas to inspire you to eat healthy. Tomorrow, it's Monday which means a new week is beginning...the perfect time to put all of this into play in a way that fits your lifestyle.

Question: What are your favorite healthy snacks?

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