Have you ever been that person sitting in the corner, happily munching on carrots and hummus on a break at work, only to have someone barge into the breakroom exclaiming “I don’t know what to eat!!” Do you notice that same person enter the breakroom countless times throughout the day, and each time they are eating something incredibly unhealthy? Most likely, the person is genuinely hungry, because the snacks they are eating are low in fiber, low in protein, and high in bad starchy non-complex carbs.
I must admit, I too have been the person with the bad snacking habits before; we all have. Unfortunately, bad habits are hard to break, but not impossible!
Potato chips, pretzels, mainstream candies, and even mainstream yogurts are rarely going to keep someone full. To stay full and satisfied, we must think it terms of FIBER, PROTEIN, & COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES.
Why is this? This is because foods high in fiber take longer to break down in one’s system, so what you are receiving is pure nutrition, opposed to a pure sugar rush. When food takes longer to break down, you feel fuller longer, and don’t need to run back and forth to the fridge for more “pointless” snacks. Protein is important, of course, because it will keep you fuller longer, and complex carbs (i.e. whole grain crackers,brown rice, sweet potatoes, etc) are not quick to convert to sugar.
And don’t think for a second that healthy Vegetarian snacks=boring yuckiness! On the contrary! See below for a list of my favorite “go-to” healthy Veg snacks! Additionally, see my list of snacks to avoid.
*Sweet potato–great with a dollop of hummus, dollop of non-fat greek yogurt or crumbled low-fat Vegetarian goat cheese*
*Whole grain chips w/spreadable low-fat cheese, hummus, peanut butter or other healthy fibrous spread*
*Raw Almonds, Walnuts, or Sunflower Seeds w/an apple, pear, or banana*
*Non-fat yogurt with ground flax seed (There is a great brand of Blueberry Flax @ Trader Joe’s we <3) and fruit*
*Bowl of whole grain cereal w/coconut milk, almond milk or soy milk*
*Whole grain tortilla chips w/avocado and salsa*
*Half-cup of black beans or lentils seasoned to taste*
What’s important is to be creative so you don’t get bored, and again, Look for high fiber content, whole grains, and adequate protein (5 grams or more)
Snack foods to avoid:
Basic Chips (They are fattening, oily, and have no nutritional benefits whatsoever!)
Chocolate candies/candybars (Fattening, high in sugar, and low in protein)
Fries (Oily, fattening…substituting for sweet potato fries is a much better option!)
Cup of Noodles (Umm…so high in sodium, so low in protein, and undeniably high in starchy non-complex carbs)
Fruity Yogurt (The yogurts that have flavors, i.e. key lime pie, strawberry, etc. Often very high in sugar. Try not to consume yogurt with a sugar content of over 30 grams. The high sugar content causes a spike in your blood sugar and thus will not keep you full for very long. Best to go to the health food store or simply purchase plain yogurt and dress it up later)
Gummie Bears ( We are not five. This is all artificial gelatin ridden yuckiness)
Cookies (High in sugar, low in protein and fiber.)
The list, of course, goes on.
Make healthy choices! You’ll feel better and be a HAPPIER person! =)