Healthy eating should mean more to people than an occasional visit to the health food store or consuming a healthy meal from time to time. It should be a way of life. As the world-famous American nutritionist Adelle Davis (1904-1974) once said, “We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” There’s so much to gain by adopting a healthy eating lifestyle.
Healthy Snacks vs Junk Food
In today’s hectic society, people often feel they don’t have time to invest in a healthy diet. In a world where processed food and junk food snacks are so easily accessible, it can be difficult to commit to a healthy eating lifestyle. Smart people, however, will take a second look at what healthy meals and snacks have to offer before they discard this alternative. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of quick and healthy snack alternatives to every junk food option. In fact, when it comes to healthy snacks for busy people, there are more choices than you think.
Breaking the junk food cycle is the first step toward discovering all those healthy snacks have to offer. Healthy grab and go snacks or homemade treats fresh from your kitchen will give you greater satisfaction and nourishment than any junk food substitute. Snacking in itself is not bad if people “snack smart.” Even busy people can enjoy healthy snacks if they really want. The following tips can help you develop the healthy snacking habits you need to succeed in this endeavour.
- Prepare healthy snacks in advance so you’ll be ready when hunger strikes. Planning ahead is key to healthy snacking as it keeps you from reverting to old junk food habits.
- Have a wide assortment of healthy snacks available to satisfy your cravings. Choose flavorful snacks that will whet your appetite.
- Divide snacks into small portions and place in airtight bags or containers for easy access. Smaller portions keep you from overeating.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day so you don’t mistake “hunger pangs” for thirst. Water will help fill your stomach so you don’t feel deprived.
- Pinpoint healthy food sources in your local town and check out what they have to offer. You may find a wide variety of healthy to go snacks on their shelves that you can add to your home pantry. Grab and go snacks make it easy to commit to a healthy diet.
- Choose snacks for their nutritional value so you can fully benefit from your snack choices.
- If you enjoy cooking, take advantage of healthy snacks recipes to learn how to prepare healthy snacks at home. Homemade snacks can add greater variety to your healthy snacking habits.
Ideas for Healthy Snacks for Busy People
Breaking a long-term junk food habit is never easy. Having healthy substitutes on hand at all times will help. Try to stock up on healthy snacks that are easily accessible and convenient to eat, whether you’re at home, in school or at the office. Choose snacks that are appetizing, nutritious and filling so you’re not tempted with junk food alternatives. Delicious homemade treats can reduce the enticement for unhealthy snacks and provide extra nourishment throughout the day. Stocking your pantry with healthy, natural ingredients makes it easier to cook up homemade favourites such as these:
- Caramel apple biscuits
- Fresh fruit yogurt smoothies
- Hazelnut muffins
- Barley berry granola
- Chocolate almond pretzels
- Baked cheese bites
- Pita chips
Healthy snacks can also be the highlight of a family reunion, a special dinner party for business associates or casual get-together with friends. Here are a few unique snack ideas for entertaining that are quick and simple to make.
- Tasty avocado dip served on flaxseed crackers – This delicious duo combines the nutritional value of avocado with flaxseeds to give your guests a treat full of health and flavour.
- Carrot tahini hummus on rice cakes – Comprised of fibre-filled chickpeas combined with garlic, olive oil and tahini, hummus makes a nutritious and delicious snack for any occasion.
- Chocolate LSA (raw nut/seed mix) truffles – LSA truffles are not only delicious but an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Chocolate chia pudding – Chia seeds are rich in fibre, iron and calcium, making this pudding a nourishing and tasty treat. It only requires four ingredients to make and can be prepared inside of half an hour for your convenience.
- Baked kale chips – Baked pieces of kale sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and your favourite spices makes an innovative, savoury snack for any special occasion.
Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
Even busy mothers to be can enjoy the benefits of quick and healthy to go snacks without the extra fuss of lengthy preparation. Pregnant moms owe it to themselves to eat nourishing foods that enhance their health and fitness. These healthy pregnancy snacks are tasteful, easy to prepare and just what the doctor ordered for nutritional value.
- Apple pieces spread with almond butter
- Smashed avocado on whole grain toast
- Homemade muesli
- Raw nuts, dried fruit or trail mix
- Raw veggie platter with nutritious dip
- Homemade almond or banana coconut cookies
- Homemade almond energy bars
- Coconut banana loaf
According to Dr. Rita Redberg, a prominent cardiologist at San Francisco Medical Center, “Nutrition really is the key to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy life.” Incorporating healthy snacks into your diet is a smart move toward improving your health and fitness.
Dr. Redberg also recommends that people eat small frequent meals every 3-5 hours as opposed to consuming three large meals daily. Eating more frequently curbs your appetite so you don’t eat more food than you should. Healthy snacks reduce cravings for junk food that can add extra pounds to the body. Eating healthy snacks also increases your metabolism and normalizes blood sugar.
Food is fuel to the body. Junk food snacks can be likened to hot fuel that temporarily energizes the body only to crash soon after, leaving people hungry, tired and cranky. Healthy snacks can be compared to fuel that burns slowly to keep you well energized throughout the day. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and nuts fall under the healthy snack category, providing you with the protein, fibre and nutrients your body needs to operate at maximum capacity.
Protein-rich snacks also enhance your mental capacity, making them good for concentration, memory and alertness. Honey, natural fruit sugars and low-fat dairy products can minimize mood swings and fatigue. Foods rich in omega-3’s, i.e. walnuts, salmon, tuna, etc., help fight against heart disease, depression, ADHD and anxiety.
The benefits of healthy snacking are many and varied. As busy as people are, there’s really no excuse for neglecting a healthy diet. People shouldn’t have to compromise their health for their busy lifestyle when they can have both. There are just as many options for healthy snacks for busy people as there are for processed unhealthy snacks, making it more a personal choice than lack of options.
Replacing junk food consumption with healthy snacking habits simply requires a change of lifestyle. The benefits of a healthier physique, increased vitality and improved mental and emotional health make this change well worthwhile.