Snacking is on the rise, with 94% of Americans snacking at least once each day. However, studies have also found that only 33% of these snackers are opting for healthier foods this year compared to last year.
To help inspire more people to make the switch to healthier snacks, we’re revealing our best healthy snacking tips, as well as specific healthy snacks to buy. But before we jump into that, let’s look at why healthy snacking is so important in the first place.
Why Is Healthy Snacking Important?
Healthy Snacking Can Support Weight Loss
Whole foods and healthier foods tend to have lower calorie counts and more nutritional density, which leads to more satiety. For example, an average apple has 95 calories. In contrast, just 15 Lay’s potato chips contain 160 calories, according to MyFitnessPal. But what do you think is more filling: a whole apple, or 15 potato chips? Opting for nutrient-dense whole foods and snacks can keep you full and reduce your calorie count, supporting healthy weight loss.
Healthy Snacking Can Help Reduce Overeating & Overcompensating
Going too long without food to the point where you feel starved by the time your next meal rolls around can be problematic. You’re more likely to overeat because your body feels famished and wants to overcompensate. Instead, if you know it will be 5 or 6 hours before your next meal (for example, the gap between lunch and dinner for many people), it may be wise to have a healthy snack at some point in that time frame to keep your hunger and energy a bit more even-keeled.
Healthy Snacking May Reduce Cravings
On a related note, regular healthy snacking can help reduce cravings, especially when combined with portion control. For example, just because you’re trying to be healthy doesn’t mean you can never eat potato chips again. If you’re craving something salty, you could eat 15 potato chips, or a very small bag, as well as an apple. The chips will satisfy the salty, savory craving, and the apple will fill you up. On the other hand, if you try to eliminate snacking or chips entirely, you may succeed for a while but then end up bingeing on a very large amount of chips.
3 Healthy Snacking Tips
So we know why healthy snacking matters, now let’s learn how to put it into action. Here are some tips you can start using to snack healthier today.
If you have a healthy snack on hand that you’ve already packed and planned for, you’ll be much more likely to eat it, and less likely to deviate from your goals or be tempted. Fruit, nuts, and veggies can be great on-the-go, packable options any day of the week.
Use Portion Control
Remember: “the poison is in the dose.” As we illustrated earlier with the potato chip example, you can still eat your favorite foods as long as you’re reasonable about your portions. Here, being on the go can actually be an advantage, as you can pack your portion before you hit the road or go to work, so you won’t have the chance to overeat.
If you’re snacking at home, simply laying out your portion, and then putting the bag of remaining chips, crackers, or cookies away before you begin eating can be enough to significantly reduce the chances of overeating.
Pre-packaged or pre-portioned small snacks can also be a smart strategy. For example, each of our cookie snack packs contains two of our all-natural cookies, making them a perfect pre-portioned option for packed lunches or travel snacks on the go.
Hold the Sugar
Refined sugar isn’t evil, but it is hyper-palatable and nutritionally lacking. Put more simply: you can eat lots and lots of it before feeling full or satisfied. That’s one reason we choose to use organic coconut sugar and dates to sweeten our cookies. By using natural, unrefined sugars, and nutritious ingredients like oats, our cookies are more filling than many other brands, with about half as much sugar.
You can still satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s just best to do so using natural alternatives. You can learn more about refined sugars and other sweeteners in our free ebook.
Some Great Healthy Snacks to Buy
Now that you know our top healthy snacking tips, let’s look at a few specific foods that make great healthy snacks.
The following vegan snacks are nutritionally dense and satiating:
- Veggies and dip
- Naturally sweetened cookies
- Healthy crackers and hummus
- Roasted edamame
- Mushroom jerky
- Nut butters spread on crackers or veggies
Snacking can be an effective way to support weight loss, reduce cravings, and avoid overeating. However, this all depends on whether or not you are snacking in a healthy, sustainable way.
When choosing your snacks, remember to opt for mostly whole foods. You can still eat chips or cookies. Just remember to use reasonable portion sizes and opt for healthy, natural alternatives when it comes time to satisfy your sweet tooth.