Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snackity Snack Snacks!

I think I would die without snacks.  Maybe not die but be a MUCH crankier person (Chris can attest to this- he jokes that he keeps cheerios in little baggies with him at all times to keep me happy). Seriously though, I've noticed that if I skip snacks I start to feel nauseous and irritable.  And once that feeling hits- if I still don't snack- within an hour I likely have given into a craving and am eating something chocolate or fried in a desperate attempt to raise my blood sugar.
SO- snacking is key for me. And just to clarify- snacking is NOT grazing.  I try to eat around 1400 calories a day and I write everything in my food journal.  So for me, snacking needs to be a planned & timed event not just random "extra" eating through the day. If you are writing this blog/idea off right now because that sounds too hard- stop.  I'm going to share with you my favorite snacking strategies that are SO easy you will be a pro snacker in no time :).
I eat both a Mid Morning Snack (eaten around 10:30-11 between breakfast & lunch) and a late afternoon snack (between 3-4). I also usually end up having a "get home from work snack" (a habit I'm trying to break) By making each snack in the 100-200 calorie range it still leaves me plenty calories left over for meals.
My favorites include:
Non Fat Greek Yogurt- Trader Joes has expanded their line of these to include small portion ones with only 110 calories that come in fun flavors like Pomegranate & Honey.  And they have 14 grams of protein!
Nuts.  These come with a warning. Nuts are a great snack because they will keep you full because they are full of protein & healthy fat- but eating too many will make you bad fat. I buy raw unsalted almonds in little 200 calorie packs because they are good- but not SO good that I can't stop myself from opening a second pack.
Fruit Leather. I had one of these today and it was great! Only 45 calories and it satisfied my sweet tooth plus- had half a serving of fruit in one leather. Yum! Try to buy "natural" versions with no added sweeteners.
Rice Crackers. These are a new FAVORITE of mine. They are small, salty, crunchy & satisfying. 120 calories in 38 crackers! This is my typical "get home from work snack" when I just feel the urge to munch on something but am not actually that hungry. I buy them at Trader Joes but you can find them at traditional grocery stores as well. Diamond Brand Nuts has almond & other nut flavored rice crackers that are great.
Trader Joes Fiber Cakes. these are like mini bran muffins. 80 calories & tons of fiber. My favorite is the apple cranberry flavor & I like to heat them in the microwave. So good with coffee!
Fruit. I'm not a huge fruit person by nature- but am trying to incorporate more into my snacking.  All berries are REALLY low cal. 8 medium strawberries is only 50 calories. An entire cup of blueberries is only 70. A medium nectarine has 70 calories. A simple (and always in season) apple has 80 calories.  Always a good option.
Hard Boiled Eggs. 70-80 cals depending on egg size.  Top with salt & pepper=YUM and they stick with you for a while.
Lite String Cheese. Between 60-70 calories depending on the brand.  LOVE these. I feel like these fend off hunger really well and keep me satisfied. Plus they're kinda fun to eat :)
Whole Grain Toaster Waffle.  Around 100 calories.  Top with Jam or eat alone- very satisfying morning snack.
Pop Chips. The best invention in the world. Chips that are not baked or fried- they are popped! And they come in amazing flavors like BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion and are only 100 calories for a decent sized serving.
Lara Bars. If you are going to eat a protein bar or keep one in your purse- this is a great brand.  They are a little higher cal, between 190-220, but are made with 100% natural ingredients (basically fruit & nuts) and taste great!
I would put baby carrots on here- and I've bought them as a snack before but I feel like I'm lying to you all if I say I actually think they're satisfying.  They're not. That's why I always have an un-eaten bag of them in my fridge :)
And finally- a few other things to keep in mind when selecting a snack:
When is your next meal? If you are hungry but know you will be eating soon- go with something small that will digest quickly like a piece of fruit.  If you have a while before your next meal- try a string cheese, nuts or something with more protein.
A good rule of thumb that my trainer taught us was that 100 calories should buy you about an hour of energy before you start to feel hungry again.  So if I have lunch at 12pm and had a 300 calorie meal- I know my snack will be around 3-3:30 when I start to get hungry again.  It's different for each person, but it's a good guideline.
Happy Snacking!
PS. I do not believe in 100 calorie packs. It is just small portions of processed food that leaves you hungry 20 min later. Just FYI :) 
PPS. Checkout this dinner I made last week- it's the Stuffed Pork Chop from Trader Joes I'm always talking about! And a delicious & colorful salad! (ok the mashed potatoes weren't the healthiest thing ever...)

1 comment:

  1. OoOoh thanks! This is a good one, thanks for pointing it out. I so miss my weekly Trader Joe's trips (no TJ's here in CO), but got a Costco sized tub of the Fage Greek Yogurt and have been measuring that out with some frozen berries and honey for breakfast. And made a yummy baked lemon chicken recipe with it the stuff!

    My other issue (I have many) is that when I get home from class it is after being out in the literally FREEZING cold! It was 23 degrees outside when I walked through my front door last night! So something warm is kind of essential.