Control Snack Cravings with These Healthy Food Options
When it comes to setting and crushing fitness milestones, hitting the gym is only one part of the equation. You’ve also got to mix in some rest days, get plenty of sleep, de-stress when you can, and make sure your meal and snack choices are supporting your goals instead of smacking up against them.
Is “healthy snacks” an oxymoron? Not at all. As long as you’re focusing on better-for-you healthy food options most of the time, you’re golden. Here are some ideas for those munchies moments.
Instead of: Toast and butter
Try: Sweet potato toast and avocado
Whole grains are a good part of any meal plan, but make snack time an opportunity to get more vegetables into your mix first. Make some sweet potato “toast” by slicing a sweet potato thinly then putting the slices in the toaster (it sometimes takes three to four cycles to get done). Then mash up some avocado and spread on like butter. You can also try other “toppings” like hummus, almond butter, or even a fried egg.
Instead of: Potato chips
Try: Kale chips
Just as crunchy and salty as potato chips, kale chips are a big burst of healthy snack flavor without a strong taste of … well, kale. Just remove the leaves from the stems, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes.
Instead of: Popsicle
Try: Frozen peanut butter banana
Slice a banana in two pieces lengthwise. Put peanut butter (bonus points for a low-sugar choice!) in the middle, like a sandwich, and reassemble the banana. Wrap in plastic wrap then freeze for an hour. You’ll have a frozen treat that seems indulgent but is a major healthy snack.
Instead of: Flavored yogurt
Try: Plain yogurt with a teaspoon of jam
Flavored yogurt tends to be very high in sugar content, which means that your blood sugar can spike and leave you feeling hungry much sooner than expected. Tame the sugar monster while still having sweetness by choosing plain yogurt and mixing in a bit of your favorite jam.
Instead of: A handful of almonds
Try: Steamed edamame
Almonds are a top healthy food option, but let’s face it — there are only so many times you can get excited about a handful of almonds. Mix it up at snack time with some steamed, shelled edamame. You can pop them in your mouth the same as nuts, but you score points for upping your veggie intake.
Keep in mind that when you feel deprived, it’s much easier to slip off track. Your healthy food options should be driven by what you love and enjoy eating — not feel like a punishment. And it’s totally OK to indulge sometimes, too. Having a little “cheat snack” won’t throw your fitness goals out of whack. Plus, chocolate can actually be good for you!
To keep an occasional indulgence from turning into a regular (bad) habit, try planning your snacks in advance and carry some along with you, especially if you’re going to hit the gym later. And definitely mix up your healthy snack choices to squash boredom.