Snacking during the day is basically a given. It hits 3pm, you’ve been running from meeting to meeting all day and you’re needing a little pick me up - a snack is in order. Whether your goal is weight loss, hormone balance, blood sugar stabilization or just feeling good, snacks can play an important part in your daily routine. I believe that food is medicine, so choose your snacks wisely.
Unfortunately a lot of foods are deemed as “healthy” when really they are health-wrecking, blood sugar spiking empty calories that your body can’t process properly. Don’t fall into the “health food” trap!
Here are 5 healthier snack swaps to power you through your day (bye afternoon crash and brain fog!) and set you up for success.
Yes chips can be made from potatoes or corn, but they are fried, processed and covered in inflammation producing oils. Think of food as fuel. Ditch the “these aren’t that bad” mentality. The food you eat is your main source of medicine. Chips are incredibly low in nutrients and high in calories, sodium and acrylamide, a potential carcinogen.
Replace with: seaweed snacks or kale chips.
These snacks offer that crunchy, salty factor that you long for, but also offer some nutritional benefit. Seaweed is rich in the minerals iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper and selenium. Kale is ranked number 2 on the ANDI List, making it a nutrient packed food. As always, look for brands that use good quality oils (coconut, olive) and have as few ingredients as possible. Or better yet, make your own!
Most trail mixes are packed with excess sugar, excess salt, oils, colorings and preservatives. Reading the ingredients label on this one is key! Chocolate chips in trail mix are still...chocolate chips. Cranberries, cherries, raisins and other dried fruits often come covered in canola oil and cane sugar, turning them from good to bad with a capital B.
Replace with: homemade trail mix.
Try this recipe below:
½ cup sprouted almonds
½ cup sprouted walnuts
¼ cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup raw coconut shavings
¼ cup raw cacao nibs
¼ cup goji berries
Handful of dried mulberries
*For a more savory option, try ditching the dried fruit and mixing in cilantro, dried lentils, and spices like cayenne, turmeric and chile.
Prepackaged yogurts are a nightmare. Sometimes these yogurts can pack as much as 29 grams of sugar, and this is not natural sugar. Fun fact: a can of coke has 39 grams of sugar. Can you say headaches and weight gain? Additionally, dairy is a common trigger food for many people, causing inflammation in the body that can show up as acne, eczema, migraines, hormone issues, you name it.
Replace with: homemade chia pudding.
Chia seeds aid in weight loss, promote digestive health, stabilize blood sugar levels and are packed with omega-3s, fiber and protein.
Try my easy recipe here:
Overnight Chia Pudding
Oh, the juice dilemma. While claiming to provide instant energy and liquid vitamins, some juices can actually give you a solid blood sugar spike and sugar rush, complete with a big crash. This is a disaster for your hormones, skin, weight loss and energy. PSA: Not all juices are created equal. A general tip is to choose the green ones and avoid the brightly colored ones, but this can’t always trusted.
Replace with: purely green juice or a small protein shake.
Look for organic, cold-pressed juices made entirely of greens, herbs and a splash of citrus. Those juices that have been sitting on the grocery store shelf for a few days...not worth the $9. Better yet, mix one scoop of a high-quality, plant-based protein powder with a cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk. This will provide you with protein, vitamins and minerals to truly hold you over until dinner AND cure a sweet craving.
We get it, a granola bar is easy to just grab when you’re running out the door. The truth is, these babies can contain different processed grains, flours, multiple types of sugars, inflammatory oils and preservatives to make them last longer on the shelves. Things like soy flour, corn flour, natural flavor, dried cane syrup, soy protein isolate, soy lecithin and canola oil are present in a lot of the bars out on the market, which will send your energy levels and hormones out of whack.
Replace with: organic, grass-fed meat bars and jerky.
Choosing a plant-based paleo option will provide your body with the healthy fats and complete proteins that it needs to build muscle and ward off hunger. These are often much less processed and contain real food ingredients. Look for one with ingredients that you can pronounce and no added sugar. If the sound of a “meat bar” is throwing you for a loop, check out this brand.
Other go-to snack ideas that I love:
- Celery sticks with 1/2 avocado sprinkled with Himalayan salt.
- An apple with raw almond butter.
- A hard boiled egg.
Let’s face it. No one has time for an afternoon slump.