By: Chelsey, Founder of Chelsey Amer Nutrition
Welcoming a new year is an exciting time, especially when you set new goals. But as a registered dietitian, one of the biggest missteps I see clients take in the New Year is overcomplicating their new years goals. Instead of overhauling your entire diet with strict rules, this year let’s focus on small, manageable steps to achieve a more balanced diet.
One of my favorite places to start is snack time! Better for you snacks are those that are balanced, pairing more than one food group together. But just because you are focusing on better for you snacks doesn’t mean snacktime has to be boring!
Here are 5 steps to choose a better for you snack:
1. Choose a snack that you’re in the mood for to make it more satisfying
Satisfaction is key to creating healthy habits that last. If you force yourself to eat celery sticks for snack time, when you really want YumEarth’s Organic Fruit Snacks, you’ll be thinking about fruit snacks all afternoon.
Instead of reaching for a snack on autopilot that you think you “should” eat, pause before snacktime and ask yourself “What am I in the mood for?” You may be surprised to find out that when you eat what you’re in the mood for, you actually need less to feel fully satisfied. Enjoying your food is a key component of creating and sustaining healthy habits for the long term.
2. Think about what you can ADD to make it more balanced
Once you decide what’s most satisfying to you, step number two is to figure out what you can add to this snack to make it more balanced and filling. Remember, a balanced snack combines more than one food group so you’ll stay full for hours instead of just a few minutes.
This is especially important when you’re serving snacks to kids. Parents often complain that their children ask for snack after snack all afternoon. But if you make your kids’ snacks more balanced, they’ll feel full for longer.a couple of hours.
Here are some ideas of good snacks for kids that are balanced, satisfying, and allergy-friendly:
- Crispy chickpeas + YumEarth Fruit Snacks
- Apple “nachos” (apple slices drizzled with seed butter and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips)
- Cucumber slices and whole grain crackers with hummus
- Yogurt parfait with berries and YumEarth Gummy Bears
- Avocado chocolate pudding with YumEarth Gummy Bears
As you can see from this list, these snacks all contain a source of protein and/or healthy fats in addition to carbohydrates. This combination is key for adults and kids for healthy snacking. For example, crispy chickpeas contain fiber-filled carbohydrates and protein. Plus, pairing them with YumEarth’s Fruit Snacks provide a side of fun with a better-for-you, safe, allergy-friendly option.
3. Use snack time as a way to add nutrients
The purpose of a snack is to act as a bridge between meals to ensure that you don’t get too hungry between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Snack time is also a great time to add nutrients to your diet.
When designing your snack, it’s always a good idea to add nutrients of concern, AKA those nutrients that most people do not eat enough of. These include:
- Fiber: fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in fiber. When you can, add one of these foods to your snack
- Calcium: dairy is the most obvious source of calcium, but also fortified plant-based milks and fortified cereals contain calcium
- Potassium: many fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium
- Magnesium: pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, plus healthy fats too
- Vitamin C: especially helpful during cold and flu season, vitamin C can help shorten the length of a cold. Try YumEarth’s vitamin C organic pops alongside an orange for a double dose of vitamin C!
4. Don’t be afraid to make it filling
One of the biggest mistakes I see clients make when it comes to snacktime is relying on a stingy snack to stay full for a few hours. Not to pick on celery sticks, but they simply won’t provide your body with enough nourishment for you to stay full for hours between lunch and dinner.
Use the tips from above to make your snack more filling. Ask yourself…
- What can I add to this snack to make it more balanced?
- How can I make this snack more satisfying?
- Can I add any filling nutrients (like fiber, protein, or healthy fats) to this snack?
5. Use snack time as a reminder to hydrate
If you have trouble hydrating throughout the day, use snacktime as a reminder. The same as you would at mealtimes, serve yourself a glass of water with your snack. This is even more important if your snack is rich in fiber. For proper digestion, your body requires fiber and water.
To achieve your new years goals, add better for you snacks to the table. Use these tips above to feel more energized and satisfied throughout the day!