Healthy Quick Snacks ~ hug the perimeter of the supermarket – by Eliza
It’s the beginning of Spring here in Alberta, Canada, and I’ve started my Spring cleaning. Spring cleaning often involves tasks like tidying and tossing, then ‘deep’ cleaning your home, garage, tech tools, etc. Spring is a great time for new beginnings, making changes and developing new habits. What does that have to do with healthy quick snacks?
Well today, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about how to clean up your ‘snacking’. What I want to blog about today is the topic ‘To Snack or Not to Snack?” What are some healthy quick snacks that we can eat when hunger or cravings strike?
If you interested in learning more about my tips on Spring cleaning, you can read about them in my latest article – Love it or Hate it ~ Spring cleaning – My Foolproof Plan.
What kind of ‘snacker’ are you?
Are you interested in healthy quick snacks?
Do you shop the whole store or do you hug the perimeter?
Did snacking cause those extra few pounds?
If you go ‘back in time’ to when you were younger or perhaps even further back, to your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents days, you definitely can see some differences in how we snack today vs how they snacked back then.
Today we have aisles of processed packaged snack foods. Have you noticed how many types of chocolate chip cookies there are? Chocolate chips that are combined with oatmeal, mint, double chocolate, nuts, iced, layered and more… there’s just no end to the type and varieties you will find. These packages of cookies are not just on a shelf or two – most supermarkets have a whole aisle dedicated to them!
Same goes for potato chips, snack bars, chocolate bars, etc – I remember our grocery store in our home town used to carry one or two brands… Do you remember Old Dutch or Hostess? The favorite in our house was Ketchup chips or Hostess Ruffles. We didn’t get them very often…When we did they were a treat!
Do you remember Whistles and Daisies. They evolved into the now Bugles. I can remember playing with Bugles and pretending they were fingernails. Ha Ha. Whistles and Daisies were corn chips that were advertised back in the 60’ and 70’s as “Televittles” and “great with TV.”
What about Humpty Dumpty chips in a tin or can? They used to put a toy in the tin. This toy was typically a plastic coin which featured dog breeds, airplanes, football players etc…
However, if you are looking for a toy in your bag of popcorn, you now have to go ‘high tech’ with your smartphone and an App. The newly designed Cracker Jacks bag allows you to scan and then go online to see your favorite baseball moments – technically not a toy, but a digital video…
Today we have supersized Chicago caramel & nut mix popcorn that most of us get from Costco here in Alberta.
Okay, so you are probably saying that yes there were these so called quick snack foods back then too.
Now we often refer to quick snacks as ‘junk’ food. We see quick snacks everywhere – you can’t walk into a store without at least something being displayed at the checkout just begging you to purchase it as ‘quick snack food’ – Notice I didn’t add the word healthy.
I think you are getting the picture, snacks today are different. They are oversized, easy to access, and generally no longer a snack but can often be considered more of a meal. AND THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!
Let’s think about this for a minute. Why do we choose these so called quick snacks when it is just as easy to buy a piece of fruit…or … Well, it should be.
Stores choose not to offer fresh fruit at the checkout counter. I can see that perhaps they might be worried about fruit and veggies going bad, however when we look at grocery stores they have their full produce section.
So I don’t think that’s the answer.
You could carry a piece of fruit around with you in your bag (and don’t laugh as I do this all the time) but I can understand that you may not want the inconvenience of it getting squished, and leaking juice all over your bag.
I pose the question – is the real problem the grocery store marketing gimmicks or is it more of an addictive issue to the salty, sugary taste?
Yes, you are bombarded with a wide variety of unhealthy foods and we impulsively gravitate to those foods because they are convenient, somewhat additive in nature (as we often crave sugary and salty snacks) easy to buy and sometimes cheaper too.
But is this the healthy thing to do? What is a person to do?
Have you ever sat down and ate a 2 pound bag of carrots or apples?
But I bet you are able to eat a full bag of Ms Vicky’s Salt ‘n Vinegar chips all by yourself and in one sitting. (Sadly to say I’m guilty of that one… and a few more that I would prefer not to tell)
We tend to be always on the go looking for that quick grab-and-go – not get your fingers dirty snack – be it a granola bar, bag of cookies, chips or chocolate bar. We all seem too busy to prepare or toss ‘healthier’ choices into a container before we run out the door.
HAVE WE BEEN SET UP
Marketing companies pay big bucks to get their products out to the public. They look at making items taste good and look appealing. And they place them strategically throughout their stores.
I propose you take a really good look at what is actually in those ‘quick snacks’ and look at ways you can ‘snack’ in a more healthy manner… I’m going to call this going back to the basics.
IS SNACKING OKAY OR DO WE ONLY NEED OUR THREE MEALS A DAY (Three meals a day could be another article in itself as many of you are probably questioning this already. – Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below)
There are as many articles ‘for‘ as ‘against‘ the idea of snacking. I think ultimately to snack or not to snack should be up to each individual person and the amount of food you take in and the energy needs you have.
First of all I think if you start thinking about snacks – as ‘fuel’, for your body. This is a huge first step in the decision on whether to snack or not to snack?
Next you might like to ask yourself are you really hungry?
Here’s where the ‘to snack or not to snack’ comes in…
I believe snacking can be part of a healthy eating plan – but you need to look at the quality and quantity of the snacks!
Snacks should be just that- snacks, and not a meal.
What I like to ask myself is what is behind the need for me to snack? Am I bored? Hungry? Tired?
Sometimes your emotions and the situation you find yourself in can be behind that trigger that leads you to the need to go ‘grab’ a snack. I think it’s important to be mindful of the why and the what you are eating!
Why should we see snacks as an opportunity to “fuel up”?
If you choose nutritious snacks, you help fuel your body to avoid energy slumps. You probably are more than familiar with those afternoon dips in energy about 2 or 3 p.m that often send you in search of caffeine, chocolate, anything that will help you through that last hour or two of work.
Keeping your energy levels regulated can help prevent those ‘crashes’ and keep you from overeating at your next meal.
Snacks are also a great way to reach our daily recommendations for different nutrients and should be viewed as an opportunity to fuel, rather than being a ‘treat’ or a way to pass the time.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE GRABBING FOR A SNACK
Incorporating more fruits, vegetables and other high nutrient foods into your daily snacks can help you not only fuel your body but add those extra nutrients that your body may need.
So… Next time you are reaching for that bag of potato chips or chocolate chip cookie, ask yourself “What is in this food will fuel my body and help me with my nutritional needs?”
Bottom line: snack on more fruits and veggies
Nothing magical here, no miraculous pill just plain common sense that we all know but often choose to ignore when that craving strikes.
Yabut… you say… I don’t have time to prepare a snack.
3 OR 4 HEALTHY QUICK SNACKS FOR ON THE GO
HERE’S MY SECRET: When I am looking for a snack I like to make sure my snack has three things. A Healthy Carb, Protein and Dietary Fiber. As you are probably aware it’s good to add protein to the trio as it help you feel full or satisfied longer.
And you have all heard of the benefits of fiber. Dietary fiber provides bulk to the foods you eat and helps you stay full longer and helps to keep you ‘regular’.
1. A piece of fruit with nut butter or nuts: i.e. apple and peanut butter, banana and ¼ cup of walnuts, or almonds, or cashews (preferably raw and unsalted)
2. Greek yogurt with berries: Make sure it is unsweetened Greek yogurt (it is naturally packed with protein)
3. 2 tbsp of hummus and carrot/celery sticks
4, Hard-boiled eggs with a few cherry tomatoes
My SECRET TIP – I always carry a baggie of raw nuts on me and keep a small baggie in my car.
That way if I’m out and about and get a ‘hunger attack’ it’s easy to pick up a piece of fruit – yes even Starbucks carries bananas and have it with a few nuts.
ARE THERE GOOD TIMES TO SNACK
If you are physically hungry and your tummy is growling chances are your body is telling you something. Consuming a small nourishing snack in this case is a good idea.
TIP: Keeping a healthy quick snack option in your desk at work is always a good idea. Baggie of raw nuts and seeds plus a piece or two of fruit… apples, oranges, plums will keep a week without being refrigerated.
I keep the fruit on my desk instead of in my desk as a reminder to snack on healthy food instead of the handy vending machine down the hall. (It’s also a reminder to take them home at the end of the week if I haven’t eaten them so they don’t go mushy in my drawer.) LOL
Before or after a workout depending on how long it has been or will be before you have a meal. Sometimes a workout can leave you feeling light-headed, dizzy or sluggish if you haven’t eaten enough. A good rule of thumb is a carb, protein, fiber snack of about 100-200 calories.
My favorite after workout snacks: rice cake with nut butter: trail mix with dried fruit and nuts (no added salt or sugar and preferably raw); or a plum and a baby bell cheese
My favorite before workout snacks: cup of chocolate milk or latte coffee; pita and hummus with veggies, 2 eggs and a piece of fruit.
When you know you are going to be late after work and dinner will be not at your usual time. PLANNING AHEAD and having a healthy quick snack available to you will reduce the likelihood of you grabbing that unhealthy choice. – You know those times… we have all had that moment when you eat something just because you were hungry and it was convenient.
(Remember my tip of always having a baggie of nuts and seeds available)
HOW ABOUT THOSE NOT TO SNACK TIMES
Are there time when we should tell ourselves ‘no’ to snacking?
WHEN you are bored, tired, stressed and not physically hungry, this is the time to ask yourself ‘do I really need a snack’?
Sometimes your body mistakes you being hungry for actually being thirsty. It is important to listen to your own hunger clues and being mindful of what and why you are craving or wanting that snack.
When craving a snack is due to an emotion or situation try a doing something to switch it up and take your mind off food. Some options might be going for a walk, enjoying a cup of tea, call a friend, or meditate or try a mindfulness exercise on YouTube. I love taking a mindful journey with the Honest Guys on YouTube.
WHERE TO FIND HEALTHY QUICK SNACKS TO HAVE ON HAND OR AT HOME
I love to tell my family and friends to ‘HUG THE PERIMETER’ of you supermarket or grocery store. Mind you – you probably already knew that but I’m going to remind you anyway.
The healthiest items in the grocery store or supermarket are found along the perimeter of the store. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, and the dairy cases are all located along the outer walls of the store.
Purchasing foods that are not processed allows me to control the amount of salt and sugar I put on my foods.
HOW TO STORE YOUR HEALTHY QUICK SNACK FOODS
Now that you have made a conscious effort to go back to the basis and have seen how easy it is to actually choose healthy quick snack foods.
How do you store them?
I usually keep my produce in the crisper. Each Sunday, I will chop up my veggies and either leave them in a bowl or put them in baggies.
I purchase baby bell pre-wrapped cheese, but I also buy a brick of cheese and chop a few chunks and put in Tupperware to grab and go.
Greek yogurt ( I admit I buy the single size ones but that way they are ready to go as well.) Same as Hummus
In my pantry I have some raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that I make up into baggies for the week.
Nut butter gets put in small Tupperware containers so it’s ready to go.
I think you get the idea, with a bit of prep and some creativity you can have healthy quick snacks ready to go.
Just recently I came across a product called Etee Organic Reusable Food Wraps. These food wraps are so COOL! What makes them different is they are made from organic beeswax. In case, you don’t know what that is, beeswax is a tree resin. It is what helps hold the wrap together.
This fabric claims to be breathable and antimicrobial. The company claims it is safe to use on produce, cheese, leftovers – think jar of applesauce, leftover pizza slice, half used baby food jars, half a watermelon and even liquids. The possibilities are endless!
There are 3 different sizes and I’m providing a link to their website for you to check these out. I have just placed my own order and will be doing a review shortly to let you know what I think. Keep in mind these can not go in the microwave or it is not suggested that you store raw meat in them.
However, that being said I’m impressed to say the least – Hey… I’m all for a product that I can say goodbye to saran or plastic wrap. As you may know if you’ve been following me throughout my blog, I’m a firm believer of using natural products whenever I can. I think Etee organic wraps are pretty cool.
The reviews on their site and on Amazon look great.
Just a reminder I am an affiliate member with Shopetee, ClickBank and Amazon and I do make a small commission on this item’ however there’s no extra charge to you. If you found my article interesting and helpful and decide to purchase, I’d appreciate it if you use my link. (I have no way of knowing ‘who’ purchased through my links, so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you.)
MY FINAL THOUGHTS …
Remember that if you choose to have a healthy quick snack, you should be choosing foods that fuel your bodies. Try to avoid snacking on large portions and high calorie, low nutrient foods.
Keep in mind that even healthy quick snacks can have a lot of calories. Foods like nuts, cheese and avocados are all nutritious, but be careful with portion sizes as they are higher in calories than foods like raw fruits and vegetables.
If you can try to choose fresh and raw foods to have a healthy quick snacks and remember to include some carb, protein and fiber.
Portioning out your snacks can also help you snack smarter and avoid overeating between meals.
My final tip for you – I love to keep a bowl of freshly chopped vegetables at eye level in my fridge. Keeping food at eye level helps me make healthier choices. Hopefully my veggies will have one of the Etee organic natural wrappers covering them keeping them moist and fresh. (I just ordered my Etee Organic Reusablewrappers and expect them to arrive in a few days)
It’s amazing once you cut out the sugar and salt and start snacking on natural foods that fuel your body, how much better you feel.
Happy Snacking Everyone!
Quote: “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” by Michael Pollen
Affirmation: I am my own best friend.
Until next time,