Most people want to be healthier, and would eat better if they just had more healthy snack ideas. However, when we're hungry and want a snack, our good intentions for healthy diets can go out the window! This article will offer suggestions on specific healthy snack ideas and foods you should have on hand so you can stick to your healthy diets when the munchies kick in.
Healthy Eating is all in the Shopping.
The most important thing to do when it comes to healthy diets, is healthy shopping. Put healthy foods on your shopping list. If you don't BUY cookies, it's harder to EAT cookies. On the other hand, if you pick up fresh produce each week, you’ll always have ingredients for healthy snack ideas on hand when you feel hungry.
Keep the Food Pyramid in Mind.
Buy and eat vegetables. Everyone knows these are the healthiest foods, so eat them for snacks! A little light dressing, or better yet, hummus are healthy snack ideas that will improve the flavor. Make it a habit to do a "quick trip" to pick these up each week so you have them fresh and on hand every day for healthy diets. Some of my favorite snacking veggies are carrots, sugar snap peas, red peppers, and cucumbers.
Credit: DogFromSPACE @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sterlingely/4573671/Reach for fruit when you crave something sweet. Fruit still has lots of nutrients. It has healthier, natural type sugars, as opposed to candy and processed foods. Too much sugar is not part of healthy diets, which is why I'm putting this category after the list of healthy snack ideas for veggies, not with them. Berries have the least sugar and require no preparation time when packing for a snack on the go. Cherries and grapes are equally simple.
Still hungry? Eat proteins. These foods are an important part of healthy diets that will make you feel more full than veggies and most fruits alone. They help you build muscle . However some are meant to be eaten in moderation, which is why they are further down the list of healthy snack ideas. Almonds are a healthy, portable protein you can enjoy for a snack.Credit: IainBuchanan @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaeden/111015656/
Want something smooth and creamy? Add some dairy into your healthy diets. Again, there are nutrients in dairy that you need, but because of the fat content, eat less of this than the above foods. Look for low fat varieties for healthy snack ideas, and those with minimal sugar. Cottage cheese and yogurt are good choices.
Credit: norwichnuts @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/veganfeast/3751478730/Round off your snack. Have some carbs and starches. You DO need some carbohydrates for healthy diets. However, some are more nutritious than others. Also, it's is easiest to overeat when you snack exclusively on carbs, because they do not fill you up. Therefore you take in more calories faster. Having said that, choose foods with whole grains and fiber which are more nutritious healthy snack ideas than their processed carb counterparts.
Stay hydrated. Often times we can confuse the feeling of dehydration with hunger. Drink plenty of water, or better yet (especially in cold weather) green tea with honey. The flavor of green tea can take some getting used to, but there is a good variety of flavored green teas out there to help you make the switch. So the next time you feel like grabbing a snack but you know it wasn't that long since you last ate, have a drink.
In closing, you can see that healthy diets are simple if you have the right foods at home. The best healthy snack ideas have a couple of the above items together. A little "veggie tray" with some cheese or hummus is nice when you're craving dip. Or a bowl of cereal with lowfat milk and fruit is great when you want something sweet. Along with portion control at mealtimes, if you reach for these snacks you'll be healthier, but you won't be hungrier!