When you have a million things to do in a day, it's hard to remember to snack. You might think to yourself, "do I even need a snack? I'm not even hungry"... But if you experience energy slumps, cravings later on in the day, and/or feel chaotic when eating, snacks might be super helpful for you!
Why should I eat snacks throughout the day?
Eating snacks can help regulate hunger, prevent chaotic eating during meal time, and provide consistent energy throughout the day. Choosing snacks that are balanced in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and healthy fats can provide sustained energy throughout the day AND decrease cravings.
Snacks are also a great way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need during the day. Choosing snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dairy products can help us meet our daily recommended intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
When should I eat snacks throughout the day?
Consuming good quality carbohydrates regularly throughout the day can help to maintain glycogen stores and provide sustained energy for daily activities. A good rule of thumb to follow is eat every ~3-4 hours, including a carbohydrate with fiber, protein, and fat! For example, if you eat breakfast at 7:30 am, you could have a snack around 10:30 am, lunch around 1:00 pm, another snack at 3:30-4:00 pm, and dinner around 7:00 pm.
What should I include in my snacks?
In general, snacks should also include a carbohydrate with fiber, protein, and fats just like your meals! Choose one of each of the following:
Carbohydrates - fruit, oats, crackers, granola bars, cereals, rice cakes, quinoa, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, yams, buckwheat, farrow, bulgur, popcorn, corn tortilla chips, etc.
Protein - Greek yogurt, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, tofu, legumes, etc.
Fat - olive oil (or any oils), butter, avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter, coconut, etc.
Now that we have a good idea of WHY, WHAT, and WHEN to have snacks, let's take a look at these easy snack ideas!
10 Easy Snack Ideas you NEED to try:
Whole grain rice cakes spread with cottage cheese & sliced cucumber
Balanced Smoothie: 1 cup milk of choice, 1 banana, frozen berries, handful of spinach, 1/4 cup of dry large flake oats, 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds, 1 tbsp hemp hearts, and a big spoon of nut butter
Sliced banana & Medjool dates dipped in 2-3 tbsp of peanut butter
Whole grain crackers & mashed avo (1/2 avocado, mashed with 1 tbsp of lime juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce)
Whole wheat English muffin with natural nut butter, sprinkled with hemp hearts and/or sliced banana
Bowl of steamed edamame beans drizzled in sesame oil & soy sauce
Granola Bar Brands: KIND Bars, Lara Bars, Kashi Bars, or Mid Day Squares (the peanut butter Mid Day Square is amazing!)
Bowl of Greek yogurt with muesli or homemade granola: (https://www.vancouverdietitians.ca/post/healthy-homemade-granola)
Handful of trail mix and 2 quinoa cookies (TIP: batch make & freeze!): (https://www.vancouverdietitians.ca/post/2018/01/29/no-bake-quinoa-cookies)
Energy protein balls (TIP: batch make & freeze!): (https://www.vancouverdietitians.ca/post/2019/09/16/chocolate-chip-protein-balls)
Let us know if you give any of these a try! And leave a comment if you need more ideas :)