It's a different time of the day for everyone, but most of us are all too familiar with that pesky snack attack. The time of the day when you don't really even know whats going in your face but you just keep putting shoveling it in. It usually starts innocent enough. You feel a pang of hunger and go looking for something to satiate it. The problem doesn't come in until you realize you just finished that bag of Boom Chicka Pop in one sitting....or am I the only person that ever happens to?
Honestly though, snacks are hard. Most of us need them in our day but they are very easy to overdo. No matter what your daily caloric intake goal is, snacks should make up no more than 25% of that. So if you are eating a 1700-1800 calorie diet, that generally means your two snacks should stay around 200 calories or so each. That doesn't sound so hard, but a small snack can easily get out of hand if you wait until you are too hungry or have not portioned out your food. There is big caloric difference between 6 crackers and a cheese stick, or plowing through the whole box of crackers two at a time without realizing it.
(If that's never happened to you, than you are clearly a far better person than me!)
So how do we avoid it?
I like to say, preparation is your best, most motivated self lending a helping hand to your busy, tired and overwhelmed self. Take the time when you have it in your week, pick a few snacks that combine a nice balance of carbs and protein and preportion them out. Put them in baggies or otherwise easy to grab containers and now when you go "roaming" for something to appease your hunger they are ready and waiting for you
-no thinking necessary.
This will help you avoid mindless eating and ensure that your snacks are not full of empty calories still leaving you hungry 20 minutes later.
Here are some ideas of easy, natural snacks that can help squash that mid meal hunger without adding too much salt, sugar, or artificial stuff to your body:
Apple Slices and Cheese or Nut Butter
Celery and 1 TBSP Natural Peanut Butter
Crackers and Cheese Chunks
Vegetables and 1/2 Cup Hummus
Nuts and 4 oz Cottage Cheese
Greek Yogurt and Homemade Granola
Roasted Chick Peas
Hard Boiled Eggs
Protein Power Balls
Half a Whole Wheat Pita with 1/2 Cup Hummus
Rice Cakes with Nut Butter
Smoothie with Protein and Fruit
Snap Peas with Greek Yogurt Dip
Tuna pouch with Rye Crackers
Have a sweet tooth at night that is your daily downfall?
Try replacing that sweet snack with one of these:
1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese, 2 tsp Chia Seeds, and a dash of Cocoa Powder and Cinnamon
1/2 Banana spread with 2 tsp Cashew Butter and topped with 2 tsp Cacoa Nibs
1/2 frozen Banana blended until smooth and eaten like ice cream
Popcorn drizzled with Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese, 1/4 tsp Vanilla and 1/3 Cup frozen Grapes