As a dietitian, my philosophy is always to focus on what we can add to our diet—not worrying so much about what we have to take away. The small, more attainable goals we can set each week are most often the ones that can have the biggest impact on our health!
As we kick off this new year, many of us may have various healthy goals at the front of our minds. With that said, it is so important to create sustainable habits that we can stick to and allow us to enjoy our healthy lifestyle for the long term. The small choices we make each day are often the ones that can really improve our overall health.
The way our snack plates look is just as important as our breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Focusing on real, minimally processed foods is going to be our best bet when it comes to snack choices! Below are a few ways we can level up our snack time—simple additions to our plates are going to help keep us full and satisfied while helping us feel focused and energized throughout the day:
1. Make healthy fats a part of your snack.
Gone are the days when we fear fats in our diet! We know now that adding healthy sources of fats to our diet is actually an excellent way to maintain a healthy weight, keep blood sugar levels stable, and support an anti-inflammatory diet.
One of my favorite sources of healthy fats is nuts, which not only provide some good fats but also add some protein, fiber, and minerals to your plate! Try drizzling RXBAR Nut Butter on some celery slices, apple slices, or a bowl of berries. It's not only a super-tasty addition to your plate (my personal favorites are the vanilla almond butter and the chocolate peanut butter), but it's going to make that plate of veggies or fruit much more satisfying and filling.
One of my all-time favorite combinations is a yogurt bowl with some fruit and nut butter mixed in. It's so simple, but it keeps me full, and, honestly, it tastes like dessert!
Another great source of healthy fats is avocados. Avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals in addition to their healthy fats. When you're in a savory mood, try dipping some cucumbers or carrots in an avocado with a little salt, pepper, and lime juice. It's one of my favorite simple and satisfying snacks!
2. Focus on fiber.
It can be so easy to quickly reach for some chips or crackers when we get hungry between meals. However, there are some better snack options that are going to do a better job of actually satiating our hunger and keep us feeling our best.
Ensuring you're getting enough fiber on your plate can play a huge role in your health! The typical American diet often falls short in fiber. It can be hard for many to reach their fiber goals with just their three main meals, so having some fiber with your snacks can make a big difference! Fiber is going to keep our blood sugar levels stable, which in turn will keep us more energized and help to keep sugar cravings at bay.
I like to get as much of my fiber as I can from real, whole foods rather than a processed form of fiber. Some of my favorite snack foods that add fiber to my plate are carrots, apples, pears, seeds, and berries. If you've never had RXBAR's honey cinnamon peanut butter drizzled on apple slices...I'm telling you, you're missing out!
3. Add some protein to your plate.
Last but not least, aim to get some sort of protein on your snack plate. Protein, just like healthy fats and fiber, is going to help to keep us full and satiated. I love that RXBAR uses real ingredients like egg whites in their products—they're a great source of a complete protein made from real food wrapped up in a convenient and delicious snack!
Another option for a quick and easy snack is a simple protein smoothie. Just blend some water or milk of choice with protein powder, a little fruit, a handful of spinach, and some nut butter. A smoothie like this covers all your bases in terms of providing some healthy fats, fiber, and protein.
Hunger between meals is totally normal. I especially find that I need something for that afternoon slump between lunch and dinner. Ensuring that I have a good balance of healthy fats, fibers, and protein really helps to hold me over until dinnertime and power me through the rest of the workday without a sugar crash!
Whether it's our afternoon snack or a post-dinner treat, opting for choices made with real food is always going to be our best bet. The small changes on our plate really do add up. Whatever your health goals may be in 2021, try leveling up your snacks with these simple additions to feel your best!