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To Snack or Not to Snack

Snacks- can either be your friend or foe. Do you have control when it comes to snacking or are you one of those people who once you start, you can’t stop? Snacking can get pretty tricky – many have appealing packaging which try to entice you through colorful images and clever catchphrases. Sometimes snacks can be great, they’re easy and most involve minimal prep, and you can grab them on the go. Often times however, snacks can be rather unhealthy, and are heavily processed with added sugars. It can be difficult to navigate the snack aisle and determine which ones are actually healthy for you. Have no fear. Use our guide to ensure you’re getting the tastiest and best food for your body.

Watch the Wording

Companies tend to abuse words such as natural, gluten free, and low-fat. Be careful if you see any of these phrases. While they may appear as a healthy choice, these words don’t paint the whole picture of what the snack contains. Something that’s “natural” could still be high in sugar or sodium. This is why it’s important to know how to read a food label. Be your own detective and feel confident when checking the list of ingredients. Know that the first ingredient listed is what the product contains the most of. If you need some tips, check out myplate.gov.

Are you actually hungry?

People tend to snack when they are BORED! You should try to stick to snacking when you feel hungry and your body is asking you for food. Once in a while having a snack if a friend is over is okay, but you typically want to avoid things such as mindless eating. This also means trying to avoid snacking while doing something else (watching tv, doing work, etc.). If you do choose to snack and do something else, try to portion out your snack, instead of eating straight out of the bag.

Make your OWN Snacks!

Homemade snacks can both taste better and be healthier for you than ones bought in the store. Try making your own healthy trail mix or pita chips. For trail mix, stick to nuts high in protein and healthy fats such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts. Then add some seeds, such as sunflower, chia, flax, or pumpkin. A small amount of dried fruit adds a bit of sweetness. My favorites are dried cranberries, but you could also include raisins or banana chips! This is a great snack to have on hand and will also keep you full and satisfied. Homemade pita chips can be another great option. Simply buy some pita, cut it into triangles, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. These taste great with peanut butter or some hummus.

No matter what snack you reach for, remember that you get what you put into your body. Choose something that your body will thank you for later!

Written by GUADS staff member Emily

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