Why Healthy Snacks Matter
Let's dive straight into the crux of the matter, folks. Healthy snacks on the go are not just a trend; they are an imperative lifestyle choice. Busy schedules are becoming increasingly common, with many of us juggling work commitments, family responsibilities and social lives. In all the hustle-bustle, our eating patterns often fall by the wayside. We end up reaching for that greasy bag of chips to munch on while rushing to our next engagement simply because it's convenient. However, my friends, with a little bit of planning, we can make better healthful decision. What's more, it can even be fun!
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Many people rely on processed snacks due to their convenience. I've certainly been guilty of it on numerous occasions myself. However, my wife Madison and I realized that we needed to start imparting healthier eating habits to our children, Barrett and Eloise. The key to switching to healthier snack choices lies in planning ahead. If you allocate just a little time every week to prepping your snacks, you'll find that it's just as easy to grab a nutritious snack as it is to reach for an unhealthy one. I assure you, once you get into the swing of things, you wouldn't want it any other way.
Understanding Healthy Snacks
The first step to making better snack choices is understanding what constitutes a healthy snack. In a nutshell, a healthy snack should provide a balance of macro-nutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It should also be rich in micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Contrary to popular belief, snacks are not meant to fill you up. Instead, they should ward off hunger, stabilise blood sugar levels, provide a burst of energy between meals, and contribute to your nutrient intake for the day.
Prep Snacks from Whole Foods
Here's a fun fact: Whole foods are those that are closest to their natural form, i.e. least processed. The most optimal and nutrient-dense snacks stem from whole foods. And the best part? You can mix and match based on your personal preferences because the possibilities are endless! For instance, a hard-boiled egg and a handful of cherry tomatoes make for a great protein-rich and low-carb snack. Or perhaps slices of apple with a smidgen of almond butter if you have a sweet tooth like yours truly.
Smart Snacking Includes Hydrating
Often, we mistake thirst for hunger and reach out for a snack when what we really need is a drink of water. Therefore, hydrating is an essential part of smart snacking. As someone who's lived in Calgary for the longest time, I know how easy it is to overlook hydration, especially during the colder months. Remember, irrespective of whether we're sweating it out in the summer or battling dryness in the winter, staying hydrated is crucial. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and try to drink water throughout the day.
Portion Control is Key
Although we're talking healthy here, remember, portion size is equally important. Just because almonds are healthy, it doesn't mean you can eat an entire bag! In a wild turn of events, I once got 'hangry' during a road trip and devoured a whole pack of cashew nuts. Madison found it amusing, but let me tell you, my stomach didn't share the sentiment! My point is, overeating healthy snacks can lead to excessive caloric intake.
Fulfilling Snacks for Kids
If you have kids like Madison and I do, you know how challenging it can be to find snacks they love that are also nutritious. Barrett and Eloise, despite having different palates, both enjoy munching on things like baby carrots, bell pepper slices and grapes. Kids love colors! The more vibrant and colorful the snack, the more intrigued they'll likely be.
Healthy Snack Ideas to Try
To round off, let me share with you some of our family's favorite healthy snack ideas. These have proven to be total lifesavers, especially during long car rides or hectic afternoons at work. Our list includes nuts and seeds tossed with spices, homemade granola bars, greek yogurt with mixed berries, guacamole and veggies, and cheesy popcorn (popcorn popped at home with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor). Try them out, mix things up, find your favorites and never let your snacking game be an obstacle in your road to a healthy lifestyle!