Smart Snacking 101

Let’s talk about snacks! I don’t know about you, but when 4pm rolls around, I’m usually looking for something small to tide me over on the train ride home and to get me through until dinner (no one likes to be hangry!). The key is making sure you're prepared with a smart and healthy snack that will nourish you and stave off hunger for several hours.  

What is a snack really

First of all, snacks aren’t treats. Snacks are small portions of balanced food meant to tide you over until the next main meal. Not everyone needs to eat between meals, but I know a lot of us (myself included) need at least one snack per day. You want something nourishing that gives you energy without bogging you down or leaving you wanting that next quick fix – i.e. stay away from the sugar, caffeine, candy, and chips!

The problem is that the majority of snacks consumed in America are highly processed, refined foods that are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. Just because something is packaged in a “single-serving” bag and labeled 100 calories does not make it a good snack – it’s just good marketing.

So, what DOES the perfect snack look like?

1. It’s balanced. My rule of thumb is fiber from fruits/veggies + a bit of protein or healthy fat for staying power. 

2. It’s small. Snacks aren’t a meal. You want something that fuels you, but is also light and doesn’t weigh you down. 

3. It’s easy to grab and go. Use your meal prep day to make snack packs for the week. Think convenient and portable – foods that are easy to keep in a small container or plastic bag.

4.  It’s simple.  My snacks typically look like something a 4th grader would have after coming home from school. And that’s okay! You don’t need a fancy snack to feel satisfied.  

Okay great! Now, what are some ideas for happy snacking?

These are my go to snacks when hunger strikes - a mix of savory and sweet. Plus the majority are easy to pack-up and throw into my bag for a busy day.

  • Apple or other fruit + 1-2 tablespoons nut butter
  • Veggie sticks or whole grain crackers + 2 tablespoons hummus
  • Homemade trail mix – approximately 2 tablespoons dried fruit + 1 ounce unsalted nuts
  • Energy bites (such as these or these) – I keep them in my freezer for easy grab and go
  • 2 medjool dates stuffed with 2 teaspoons crunchy almond butter + shredded coconut
  • 1 ounce low-fat cheese (such as Baby Belle) + veggie sticks or whole grain crackers
  • 4-6 ounces plain yogurt topped with fresh berries + a drizzle of honey
  • ½ smashed avocado on rice cakes, whole grain toast, or as a dip with veggies
  • 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with fruit, whole grain crackers, or veggie sticks
  • Small banana + 8 ounce latte or matcha tea
  • Olive or coconut oil popcorn topped with parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • Small handful spiced nuts (such as these)

What are your favorite snacks to get you through the afternoon or to fuel your workout? Comment below!