These snacking rituals will leave you feeling satisfied, and over time will lead to an overhaul in how you feel and how much energy you have throughout the day. Master these habits and watch the positive changes that they encourage.
1. Bake Your Own Crunchy Snacks
Sooner or later, you’re going to crave a crunchy snack, and if you don’t have a homemade snack on hand you’ll be raiding the snack aisle at the store or gas station in record time. It’s easy enough to make a batch of homemade crunchy snacks, and if you store them well they’ll keep for several days so you’ll always have a snack handy.
Kale chips make a good choice, and they’ll also give you some salt as well, and salt and crunch cravings usually go hand in hand. They’ll provide you with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and even some protein, making them a far superior choice to vending machine potato chips or other crispy snacks.
Why it works: The goal is to satisfy cravings, not perpetually avoid them, and when you want a salty, crunchy snack, only a salty, crunchy snack will do. Making them yourself insures that you’re only using healthy ingredients, and lets you avoid things like trans fat and MSG found in plenty of snacks at the grocery store.
2. Stay Hydrated So You Know When You’re Really Hungry
The signal for hunger and thirst are the same, and when you start keeping up with your water intake you’ll be surprised how less often you feel the need to snack.
You only want to snack when you’re hungry, not because it’s “snack time” or because you have some down time that you feel you should fill with food. Drinking enough water is part of this process and it’s the first thing you’ll want to check when you start feeling the sign of hunger.
One handy way to determine how much water you should be drinking is to take your weight, divide it in half and drink that many ounces each day.
Why it works: Eating when you’re legitimately hungry is the only way to go, and staying hydrated makes it so you’re only eating when you receive actual hunger signals. Drinking enough water could help avoid unnecessary snacking when you’re not hungry.
3. Eat an Apple Before a Every Meal
Sure, an apple a day is a popular health strategy, but you can be even more strategic when you have that apple as a sort of appetizer before your main meal is ready.
This method works best when you’re trying to slim down, or you find yourself in a situation that could trigger you to overeat or make a poor choice in a social setting. The apple will help curb your appetite and limit the chances of going off track.
Why it works: The apple fills you up and takes up space so that when your meal is ready you won’t eat as much, but will still have a nice, satisfied feeling. You can save some leftovers from your meal and use it as a snack later on if you find yourself hungry again, which will be more satisfying than using the apple as a snack later.
4. Eat Cottage Cheese When You’re Extra Hungry
Cottage cheese is a portable protein that makes a great snack you can take anywhere. Protein is a snack that’s recommended because it keeps you feeling full longer than a carbohydrate, and often will not be high in overall calories. For this reason it will leave you feeling satisfied longer when you’re especially hungry and mealtime is still hours away.
You can find small, individual sized packs of cottage cheese which makes it very easy to drop one in your lunch bag for use as a snack.
Why it works: Cottage cheese is ready-to-eat the moment you open and stir it, and combines well with just about any fruit to round off your snack. Stick with low-fat versions if you are trying to shed pounds.
5. Eat Berries When You Need Energy
Berries like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are full of antioxidants, which will provide you with energy and help you get through a taxing day.
Berries by themselves will do the trick if you only have an hour or two until a meal and you’re not ravenously hungry. You’ll want to combine them with a protein like cottage cheese mentioned above, or perhaps low-fat cheese to hold you over longer.
Why it works: Berries make a better choice than reaching for an energy drink, and will not only provide you with real energy, but will simultaneously help the body in a number of ways both in the short term and long term.
6. Snack on Avocados Regularly
Avocados may not strike you as snack food, but they have just the right makeup of nutrients to play the role of snack savior.
It’s the healthy fat and fiber that avocados bring to the snacking arena that sets them apart from other options. Added to that is their high potassium content, and array of other vitamins and minerals that really helps you stay clear-headed and on point all day long.
Why it works: Avocados require nearly zero prep time, just get them out of their skin and they’re ready to eat. They’re portable, just keep it in its skin until you’re ready for a snack. They’re full of healthy fats that will keep you feeling satiated until your next meal.
7. Make Your Own Protein Bars
Protein bars are a better way to go than a protein shake because it gives your stomach a whole food that needs to be broken down. Protein shakes are better suited for pre or post-workout recovery since the protein will be more quickly utilized by the body.
It’s easy enough to find a recipe for protein bars, and once you have a batch of them whipped up you’ll be set for a week, or at least several days.
Why it works: It keeps you from having to buy store bought energy bars and gives you quality control so you’re not putting chemicals and additives into your body that it just doesn’t need.
8. Prepare Snacks While You Make Breakfast
When it comes to snacking, forethought is key. Waiting until you get hungry is not the way to go, because often your hunger will override your ability to think clearly and make a good snacking decision.
You can also make it a habit of packing your snack while you pack your lunch. Don’t leave it to chance and just say you’ll pick up a snack while you’re out and about. There usually aren’t good snacking options available, and you’ll have to go out of your way to find one. Chances are you’ll fall victim to the advertising and convenience of fast food and junk food all around us.
Why it works: Planning ahead is key, and getting in the habit of preparing snacks is what will make this really simple. While you’re making your breakfast you’re already in the kitchen, so it makes sense to think about what you’ll want to snack on later.
9. Stop and Focus on Your Snack
Successful snackers take a timeout from their day and relish how delicious and satisfying their snack is. If you slam your snack in the middle of a busy morning or afternoon without really focusing on it, you may find that you’re hungry again before it’s time for a meal.
Remember that your snack is designed to keep you nourished between meals, and it can’t really do its job if you don’t pay it any attention and possibly even forget that you had a snack. You should be making snacks that you look forward to and that taste great, so focusing on it should be a pleasant experience.
Why it works: Being present when you eat is not only important for snacks, but anytime you’re having a meal of any size. Turn off the TV, hold your calls, and even take a few deep breaths if you’ve been stressed out. Chew your food thoroughly and really take in how good it tastes.
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