Sensible Snacking Solutions

A selection of healthy whole food snacks including nuts and dried fruit

sensible snacking solutions

We all know the importance of eating healthy, balanced meals. Including sensible snacking solutions.

But let’s be real – when 3 pm rolls around and hunger starts gnawing, grabbing an apple doesn’t always cut it.

But healthy snacking is crucial for sticking to any nutrition plan.

Without it, willpower weakens and cravings kick in, threatening to derail your progress.

We’ve all been there – staring hopelessly in the air with hunger pangs clouding our judgement.
You already know that chocolate bars and potato crips will leave you unsatisfied in the long run, yet in the moment they seem like the only option.

I remember one particularly bad afternoon last week. I had skipped lunch so I could finish an important mailout on time.

But by mid-afternoon, I was so famished that I could barely focus.

Because I often write about food, my mind kept wandering to the various things we might have in our pantry. Most are very healthy. But by the time I was ravenous, all I could dream about were the unhelpful options that either my husband uses [he never gains weight. How is that even fair??] or are hidden away for special occasions.

I knew that indulging would only make me feel worse later. But my grumbling stomach and the little naughty voice in my head convinced me to give in just this once. It said: ‘Forget the sensible snacking solutions today! You are tired and need an energy boost. You deserve it.”

So off I went and raided the pantry…I scarfed down a couple of cookies and my husband’s last stash of potato crisps.

Yep. Both.

A woman with a shocked facial expression

Shock, horror…..

But what happened? It was as expected: an hour later, I was just as foggy in my head as before and looking for some food. Again.

The inevitable sugar crash left me irritable with more cravings. Plus by now I was really cranky with myself.

I bet we’ve all experienced something similar – derailing our healthy habits when hunger hits hard.

In the moment, …those unhelpful snacks promise a quick fix for rumbling stomachs and cravings. But that temporary relief can backfire. Often we’re then left with more cravings and feeling guilty because we’ve undone our progress.

To avoid this, the key is to have a strategy in place to resist the unhelpful afternoon munchies.

With some quick planning, a good satisfying lunch and the right snacks on hand, we can sail more smoothly through that 3 pm slump instead of veering drastically off course.

Eating without thinking is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute – it’s a quick way to sabotage your health goals.

When crazy hunger or cravings strike, it’s easy to give in to impulsive choices. But rather than giving in, we can take control with smarter snacking. Having nutritious options available transforms an afternoon slump from a destructive whirlpool into a calm and steady voyage ahead.

Once you start packing healthy snacks in your purse and desk drawer, you’ll know it will be easier to stick to your plan.

Healthy snack of carrot sticks and green juice.

Healthy snacks at the office desk.

My personal go-to snacks include fresh veggies and hummus, apple slices with peanut butter using the defatted peanut butter powder [just check that it’s unsweetened], roasted chickpeas, and oatmeal and banana cookies with a little protein powder in them for better hunger control.

I rotate through different choices to keep things interesting. This way I don’t get bored and hubby’s stash of potato crisps can stay where they are.

The key is choosing options that provide a balance of fibre, protein and a small amount of healthy fats. Just like with a main meal.

That nutrient combo offers more lasting energy by stabilizing blood sugar levels. It keeps you feeling fuller longer by slowing digestion. Aim for snacks of around 150 calories. That way it is still possible to create a calorie deficit at the end of the day.

Here are some other ideas for weight-loss-friendly sensible snack solutions:

  • Trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit – The protein and fibre prevent energy crashes while antioxidants can help to boost immunity. Mix your own for better nutrition control. Leave away candied dried fruit that one can often find in commercial varieties.
  • Roasted chickpeas – These satisfying legumes pack protein, fibre and trace minerals. Roast them yourself with your favourite spices for a tasty snack on the go. Omit oil but keep an eye on them. When you ovenbake them without oil, they quickly can get too dry. I quite like to cook spicy chickpeas in a non-stick frypan because I have better control over the crispiness.
  • Fresh summer rolls – Rice paper wraps with hummus, veggies and avocado can provide healthy fats that curb cravings.
  • Apple or banana with nut or seed butter – The potassium and vitamin C from fruit paired with protein from nuts/seeds makes a perfectly portable snack.
  • Veggies with guacamole – Avocados offer monounsaturated fats for hunger control, can reduce the risk of heart disease and may even decrease inflammation. Dip carrots, bell peppers, or cauliflower for added crunch.
  • Air-popped popcorn – High volume and fibre help popcorn satisfy hunger. Sprinkle nutritional yeast and spice blends for flavour without loads of salt.
  • Overnight oats – Soaking oats and chia in milk creates a fibre and protein-packed snack you can grab from the fridge. Customize with your favourite fruits and nuts. When working from home, I usually have some pre-prepared small pots in the fridge for when I get a snack attack.
  • Please stay away from high-calorie protein bars that are usually very high in fats and sugar. You might like to make your own.
  • A protein shake. Use pure vegan powders without gums, thickeners or sweeteners. Just add 25g powder to unsweetened plant milk, add a tablespoon of flax meal and a small portion of sweet fruit. Keeps me full for at least 2-3 hours.
Banana, peanut butter on a corn cake

Banana slices and peanut butter on a corncake

Planning ahead is essential for healthy snacking success.

Each Sunday, I prep a few snacks for a few days ahead. Having grab-and-go options gets rid of excuses and saves my husband’s stack of unhelpful goodies to stay where they are. If you’re on the road a lot, keep snack staples in your purse or car.

When an afternoon craving hits, I pause and ask myself, “Am I really hungry or just bored?” Often, simply drinking water or taking a quick walk can curb the urge to snack mindlessly. But if I’m genuinely hungry, I’ve got an arsenal of smart snacks ready.

Next time you’re experiencing a hunger-induced weakness, remember you do have options.

Don’t allow cravings to pilot your afternoon – With a bit of planning, you can snack healthy and stay the course with your goals.

Now that we’ve covered some of my personal favourite snacks, here are additional tips for choosing satisfying, nutritious options:

  • Read labels carefully. Watch out for snacks high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
  • Pair carbs with protein and fat. This combo is more helpful for hunger control.
  • Don’t fear good fat. Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, olives and avocado etc. promote satiety. Just watch the portions!
  • Look for snacks with at least 3g of fibre per serving. Fibre is one of the keys to keeping you fuller for longer.
  • Vary textures for greater satisfaction. Crunchy, creamy, chewy – look for different mouthfeels.
  • Hydrate hunger away. Often we mistake thirst for hunger. Drink water before reaching for a snack.
  • Portion your snacks into small bags or containers for grab-and-go convenience. This prevents overeating from big bags or packets. Like: “I’ll just have two of these” and before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole packet.
  • Satisfy cravings in moderation. If you really want chips or chocolate, have a small serving along with something more nutritious.
  • Discover new favourites. Challenge yourself to try 2-3 new healthy snacks each week to prevent boredom. Variety is key!
  • DIY when possible. You control ingredients when making your own trail mix, granola bars, roasted chickpeas etc.
  • Spice things up. Add kick with chilli powder, cayenne, paprika, curry blends, garlic, ginger, herbs and more!
  • Store snacks properly. Seal leftovers in airtight containers and refrigerate perishables to maximize freshness.
  • Focus on how snacks make you feel, not just taste. Notice energy levels, satiety, cravings etc. after eating different options. Some of them might not be as satisfying as you had hoped.
Fresh fruit

A banana with red grapefruit slices

Remember, the healthiest snack is one you will actually eat! Definitely don’t force yourself to eat “superfoods” you dislike. Choose options you genuinely enjoy within the context of a balanced diet.

So next time 3 pm rolls around and hunger comes calling, you’ll be fully prepared. No more derailing your progress when cravings hit.
With nutritious, satisfying and sensible snack solutions you’ll find it so much easier to stick to your chosen plan.

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