I love snacks. I remember growing up always munching on them… chips, crackers, cookies, pretzels, carrots, celery, grapes, slices of cheese, trail mix, beef jerky, popcorn, you name it! It almost seems like an American past time is snacks. Go anywhere and there are “snack-type” foods. The biggest issue I’ve found with snacks is that they are easily over-consumed and often the ones eaten have less nutritional benefit.
Let’s change that.
This week, I have been away from home at a national sales meeting. If you have ever experienced corporate America, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Sit in the same room for hours on end. Lots of caffeine. Heavy meal options or no option but what they get you and the group.
And in the room (or right outside of it) are the unhealthy snacks. Sure, there is sometimes a few healthy options, but not often! Do you succumb to the traditional caffeine and sugar and salt? What if we reinvent snacking?
Although I’m not competing for a bodybuilding show in quite a while, I am now in a habit of choosing healthy foods. My taste buds have adapted and so has my digestive system. When I eat less healthy things, I tend to regret it in a few hours or the next day. Whether you are snacking away from home or with loved ones, don’t let the same old foods loaded with hidden calories take over.
How to reinvent snacking
The first thing to do is identify the healthier foods you and your family enjoy. Here is a great list of healthy snacks compiled by Bodybuilding.com. Notice some of the items that you may see at meetings? Fruit and nuts are one! You just have to be cautious of portion sizes, as they can add up quickly.
Many of these foods can be purchased in travel size portions or bought in bulk and separated into individual serving sizes for you and the family. It’s easy, grabbing the whole bag of peanuts and just eating straight from the bag, right? But if you took a few minutes to portion out servings into little Tupperware containers or baggies, you can save calories and time later on when you are in a hurry and need a quick bite. Fruits and veggies can be cut an stored in individual containers also. Keep it simple. Do what works for you all!
You don’t have to always resort to raw foods. Like to bake? Make homemade snacks! Pinterest has tons of ideas. You can modify them to your liking. Making homemade snacks is a good way get others in the family involved and try new things. You can consider alternative sugar sources, whole grain ingredients and the most “fresh” you can get. I love making protein oatmeal bars for my breakfast on trips. They usually consist of egg whites, egg, banana and some other flavors from whey protein, powdered peanut butter and Greek yogurt. If you are making something sweet, I like to incorporate more natural sources of sugar like honey, agave, maple syrup and coconut palm sugar. Did you know coconut palm sugar is one of the healthiest plant-derived sweetener options? See why here.
Maybe you aren’t a baker. You can certainly make alternative snacks for all with appetizer-like foods such as dips, breakfast muffins and more. Homemade guacamole with pita chips is a favorite for me. You can control the amount of spices added, as well as little to no additional sugar.
Last but not least, scout out healthy snack items online, in your local healthy foods section of your grocery store and sometimes at gas stations and airports. I am keen on reading the nutrition label and ingredients before buying. One snack that is my current fav is Eat Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps. They are more addictive and tasty than chips. They also have a good protein and fiber content with various flavor options. Use code “STRONGSWEET20” online for discount because let’s be honest, I love them. They also just released Crispy Marshmallow Treats that I am dying to try.
What other ways do you plan to reinvent snacking for you and your loved ones? Hope you enjoyed this ninth article. I’m planning on one more entry for this series. Subscribe and share and stay tuned for the last one.