Looking for a little snack that won’t blow your diet? Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up, especially if you’re working long hours or working out extra hard and find that your lunch isn’t quite keeping you full until supper. If you’re a weight watcher, or trying to lose weight, then it’s especially important to plan healthy snack ideas rather than finding yourself ragingly hungry and grabbing the nearest candy bar or bag of potato chips.
True hunger happens when your stomach is out of food to digest, combined with lower blood sugar. This usually happens 4 or more hours after a meal. If you find your blood sugar getting too low, you may find yourself not thinking clearly, feeling a bit shaky or even irritated. This is sometimes jokingly referred to as feeling “hangry.” However, this is a true physiological response and indicates you should eat something soon to help raise your blood sugar to a healthy level. Avoid the urge to eat sugary foods, which will cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop again, causing the cycle to repeat itself.
You might be thinking that I am going to tell you to keep low-fat and low-calorie foods to snack on. I’m not. Instead, choose a healthy nutritious snack that is balanced similar to how you balance meals. Having a complex carbohydrate with a protein-rich food containing a small amount of fat will help curb your hunger while keeping your blood sugars steady for a good amount of time. Keeping your portions small will help you avoid weight gain and keep from spoiling your next meal. Here are some ideas for low calorie snacks that will fill you up while keeping your waistline happy:
- ¼ cup nuts with a piece of whole fruit
- Half a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread
- Tuna salad with some whole grain crackers
- A snack-sized fruit smoothie with protein powder
- An ounce of cheese with some cut up fruit
- 2-3 small crackers spread with chocolate-hazelnut spread and some banana slices
- A cheese stick wrapped in low-fat ham with some grapes
- ¼ cup hummus with a few pita chips
Be sure to plan for a variety of guilt-free snack options. You don’t want to get bored with your snack choices and then opt for unhealthy foods that provide empty calories.
Keep in mind that going to bed at a reasonable time can help you avoid those late night munchies. But when they do attack, choose guilt-free snack option for nights that include a good amount of calcium and some minerals to help you get your ZZZs. A good example would be a small yogurt with a tablespoon of granola and nuts, or even some frozen yogurt with berries. Remember, planning ahead can help you avoid snack disasters.