Monday Munchies: Strategic Snacking

by Dana on March 14, 2011

This is a guest post by Kati Mora, MS, RD

Munching, nibbling, and tasting. All of these words are synonymous with snacking, yet not all are associated with healthy eating. In fact, snacking in general is not always associated with good health; however, strategically planned snack attacks can benefit health in a variety of ways.

From maintaining a healthy weight to boosting brain power, strategic snacking can be a relatively low key way to boost the nutritional content of your meal plan and reap the many rewards associated with good health.

To become a strategic snacker, here are a few essential tips:

Put it in writing.

Develop a plan that includes one or two snacks a day and put it in writing. This will help you better visualize what you need to do to improve the nutritional value of your snacks and meals. Once your plan is in place, put it in a high traffic area of your home or office to help you stay on track.

Keep nutritious options in reach.

If healthy options aren’t easily in reach, it can be incredibly tempting to grab whatever is most visible at the time. The best way to avoid this potentially devastating blow to your eating plan is to keep your nutritious treats as close as possible. Store healthy snacks in cute reusable bags in your car, in your desk, in your break room, in your purse, and anywhere else that you may be tempted to lurk when hunger strikes.

Designate a snacking area.

Healthy snacking should be intentional. Whether you are planning snacks for yourself or your children, choose your snack locations wisely. Find a place where you can focus solely on the snacking experience. This will help minimize mindless munching while at work or at home. And if you can’t step a way for an intentional snack break, work on staying focused while on the go.

Balance your snacking options.

To get the biggest “bang for your buck” when it comes to snacking, be sure that each snack option has a good mix of all the macronutrients (think protein, carbohydrate, and fat). This will help promote fullness and keep you from overeating at the next meal. Fiber and protein are particularly beneficial when snacking for fullness.

Snack fresh.

As with other meals you regularly consume throughout the day, don’t let your snack attacks get stale! Boredom quickly leads to old habits. Luckily, this can be avoided with a little creativity and a little guidance. To get you started, here is an excellent recipe for one of my all-time favorite healthy snacks: granola bars!

I LOVE these not only because they taste amazing, but because they are a strategic snacker’s best friend. They are easy to store in convenient locations, include a good mix of fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrate, and can be made in large batches that last even the most ferocious muncher a week.  I think you will enjoy them and I encourage you to go and get your strategic snack on with this phenomenal recipe.

References/Resources:
Children’s Snacks: 10 Tips for Healthier Snacking. Mayo Clinic Website.
Healthy Snacks. University of Illinois Extension: Thrifty Living – News You Can Use Website.

Bio:
Kati Mora, MS, RD is a registered dietitian located in Mount Pleasant, MI. You may also know her as “the girl behind the plate” if you are familiar with her blog, Around the Plate. Kati enjoys sharing realistic and relevant nutrition information with any and all who will listen. You can find out more about Kati and her nutrition vision by visiting her blog, her website, Around the Plate on Facebook, or Around the Plate on Twitter.

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