It's one thing to eat healthy at mealtimes, but snacking healthfully can be just as important. Sugary treats may give you a short-lived boost in energy, but you may crash and wind up with even lower energy and stronger cravings for unhealthy food. Eating foods that have at least 6 grams of protein every 3 to 4 hours can help you stabilize blood sugar and keep you energized all day long.
The best snack for you is the one that tastes good and keeps you feeling energized between meals. Here are some healthy ideas:
- Handful of nuts: Nuts are full of healthy fats and protein, which help stabilize blood sugar levels. To satisfy salt cravings, try tamari almonds instead of pre-salted blends.
- Veggies and dip: Carrots, celery, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, cauliflower — the list of veggies you can dip goes on and on. For healthy dips, try hummus, guacamole, baba ghanoush, or bean dip. Try to avoid creamy dips like ranch and blue cheese, which are high in fat and calories without much nutritional benefit.
- Apple with almond butter: Salty and sweet, this combo is a winner. The fiber of the apple and the protein of the almond butter help you to feel full and energized.
- Yogurt and berries: Live yogurt has probiotics that help keep your gut healthy. Berries add sweetness along with nutrients that support your blood vessels’ health. If you have problems with dairy, consider a coconut milk alternative.
Remember, keeping healthy snacks on hand at home, at work, and even in the car will help you resist the junk food temptation and keep you healthy all day long.
— By Maeghan Culver, ND, naturopathic doctor and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health