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Snacks: Should You Eat Them?



Snacks: Should You Eat Them?



 Snacks can be a tricky thing to navigate while on a health journey. We are surrounded by pre-packaged snacks everywhere we turn. From the Starbucks line to gas stations, vending machines, you name it…there are always snacks available. It may seem like you can’t reach your health goals while also enjoying snacks throughout the day, but I have good news for you. Snacks can be an integral part of a healthy diet.


When it comes to snacking, it’s all about choosing options that help you feel full. Let's talk about what causes satiety (or fullness) in our bellies and our brains. Fiber, healthy fats, and protein are going to be your best friends when it comes to snacks that will keep you full. There is a difference between having a donut for a snack and having a serving of roasted almonds. While both are delicious, the donut will leave you with a sugar rush (and crash), no feeling of satiety, and potential increased hunger that leads to overeating at dinner. However, choosing the almond snack will provide you with healthy fats and fiber that tell your brain and belly that you feel full. Fiber and protein will also help promote balanced glucose levels, which will allow you to listen to your hunger and fullness cues when your next meal comes around and potentially eat less.


Not only is protein essential for bodily function; it also helps to increase the thermic effect of food. This means that out of the big 3 macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat), protein requires the most energy for your body to break it down, meaning you are burning more calories. Increasing the thermic effect of food paired with daily activity, adequate fiber, and water consumption can aid in the maintenance of a healthy weight. 


Some common snacks and some healthy swaps: 


  1. Chips and dip: This is a classic snack that many people reach for between meals. You can still enjoy chips for a snack, but instead of only having chips, consider adding in some raw veggies and swap a cheese dip for something like hummus or guacamole. Having a balance of chips, veggies, and hummus will bump up the fiber and protein content of your snack which causes you to feel more satisfied and may help you eat less.


  1. Trail mix: Some trail mixes can be loaded with extra sugar and little to no fiber. Instead of buying pre-made trail mix, you are better off creating your own mix at home. Start with your favorite roasted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews. Add in a seed of your choice to bump up healthy fats and fiber. This can be pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or even flax seeds. For the fun add-ins, reach for dried dates, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, or dried unsweetened coconut. This homemade trail mix is so yummy and satisfying. Get creative with your mix!


  1. Cookies:  You not have been expecting a dietitian to offer cookies as a healthy snack. However, there are plenty of cookie recipes that incorporate healthy fats, fiber, and protein. This gives you the same sweet fix to keep you going until dinner, but adds in a healthy twist. Here is an example of a simple cookie recipe that is packed with healthy fats and fiber.  


Coconut Cookies: 

Cook time: 15 minutes  Prep time: 5 minutes 


Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add all the ingredients to a food processor or a blender and blend until you have a sticky dough. You do not want to over-blend so much that it resembles peanut butter, but smooth enough that it will stick together when you form a ball. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Cool and enjoy! 



The key to a healthy snack time is to simplify it. Grab a plate and reach for fiber (whole grain crackers, vegetables, fruits), healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, hummus), and a protein source (beef jerky, nut butter, cheese, tuna). This combo will keep you full and satisfied until your next meal. 



Further Learning


For more insights into nutrition and healthy living, tune into my podcast RDs vs BS, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and www.rdsvsbs.com. Stay tuned for more tips in the coming months!


I’m currently offering a free nutrition intro session to all new clients. If you’re interested in improving your nutrition in a way that lasts, sign up for a session through my website.


Instagram: @emily_rd_


Written by: Gabby Romero 












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