There’s good news: snacking is good for you because it prevents big blood sugar drops. The bad news? Many snacks are unhealthy junk. We’ll show you the right way to snack.
First, the guidelines to follow
- Pack your snack with your lunch. It’s easy enough to grab some carrots, celery sticks, grapes, yogurt, or nuts and stick them in your lunchbox.
- Stay away from chips and go easy on pretzels. They’re high in carbs and don’t have much protein to balance it out.
- Seek out protein. Peanut butter, nuts, yogurt, and even hard-boiled eggs are good snack sources.
Typical snack 1: Pretzels
Snack makeover: Cut the pretzels in half and add ½ green apple with 15 ml (1 tbs) of peanut butter.
- Decreasing the pretzels will limit the amount of refined carbs you’re eating.
- Beef up the snack with a filling piece of fruit and some peanut butter for blood sugar “staying power.”
- This snack will help you stay full for longer than if you ate just the pretzels.
Typical snack 2: A berry cereal bar
Snack makeover: 125 ml (1/2 cup) low-fat mixed-berry yogurt topped with 30 g (2 tbs) bran cereal.
- Substituting yogurt for the cereal bar cuts the glycemic load (GL) of the snack.
- Because these bars contain cereal, we often assume that they’re good for us.
- However, they’re often lower in fibre and higher in sugar than their cereal counterparts.
- Adding your own bran cereal is a better call.
Typical snack 3: Salted crackers with cheddar cheese
Snack makeover: Whole wheat crackers, Swiss cheese, 1 small pear.
- Switching to whole wheat crackers reduces the GL.
- Eating less cheese decreases saturated fat.
- Cheese is sometimes healthy, but you need to eat it in moderation.
- Add a piece of fruit to fill in some calories. Because of its fibre and water, a pear will fill you up more than additional crackers.
Typical snack 4: A chocolate chip granola bar
Snack makeover: 250 ml (1 cup) light popcorn mixed with 10 peanuts and 15 ml (1 tbs) semisweet chocolate chips.
- Granola bars usually have lots of added sugar, whereas popcorn is whole grain and has lots of fibre.
- Peanuts add a sugar-stabilizing dose of protein and “good” fats that will help you stay fuller longer.
- A few chocolate chips will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Typical snack 5: Jelly beans
Snack makeover: 15 dry-roasted peanuts
- Peanuts are satisfying and full of protein, fibre, and healthy fat. On the other end, jelly beans are nothing but sugar.
Use these snacking tips and you’ll find that not only are you more alert and less hungry during the day, but you’re also healthier, happier and maintaining a stable weight. Snacking really does make a huge difference, just make sure you’re doing it properly.