Healthy Snacks to Avoid Being Hungry and “Hangry”
I love that word “hangry” – hungry and angry. Whoever came up with the term, kudos. It says it all. We all have probably experienced that feeling when it’s not officially time for a meal, but we’re slightly hungry. When we get to this point, we should know that we’ve waited too long to satisfy that niggling hunger. It often happens when people skip breakfast, thinking they’ll save calories and lose some weight. Bad mistake! Snacks to the rescue!
When I’m getting slightly hungry but not ready for a meal, I often have to stop and think — what should I snack on? It’s too easy to reach for the closest food item around. (Is that a candy dish you have on your desk?)
There’s the first rule of healthy eating: Keep only healthy snacks within easy reach. The second rule is: Eat your snack slowly. Let your body have the time to register that nourishment is on its way to satisfy that slight hungriness you have. And lastly, chew thoroughly and enjoy every bit of that snack. Don’t mindlessly chew while doing a multitude of other tasks. Take a break, pay attention, and truly enjoy what you’re eating.
I’m only going to suggest the easiest and most portable of snacks. Save your energy for preparing your meals instead.
Snacks Requiring No Refrigeration
- Nuts — any kind. (Enough with the super foods. Every nut has nutritional value. I don’t particularly like walnuts. Just because the walnut has had a lot of dollars thrown at researching it to prove it’s healthy, I’m not going to waste my calories on something I’m not enjoying. How about you?)
- Fresh fruit — any choice. Whole fresh fruit comes already packaged to go. It’s portable. It’s satisfying. Apple slices with peanut butter would be great if you don’t mind some preparation of your snack.
- Dried fruit — any choice. Dried fruit is convenient to carry with you and is a great stand-in for candy. It’s quite sweet, so you don’t need to eat as much as if it were a fresh fruit.
- Whole grain crackers. Try to find crackers that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. (Even though peanut butter pretzels aren’t whole grain, I’m going to throw them in as a suggestion because they have a good amount of protein in a convenient package.)
- Trail mix. Mix any nuts, seeds, dried fruit that you like. Store in an airtight container.
- Baked kale chips or roasted chickpeas. I’ve seen these packaged, but you can always make your own.
- You can make this at home with the advantage of seasoning however you want. Try a variety of things such as Parmesan cheese, parsley, your favorite chopped herbs. Confession time: I was cleaning out my pantry the other day and was shocked to find a bag of popcorn kernels that have to have been there for at least a year or more. (Yes, it has been some time since I organized the pantry!) It smelled fine, so I tried popping them. Came out perfect. So, you definitely can keep a bag of popcorn kernels around to make an easy take-with-you snack.
Snacks Requiring Refrigeration
- Low-fat yogurt with fresh berries.
- Hard-boiled egg
- Cucumber slices with hummus
- Steamed edamame (soybeans) with sea salt
- Fresh baby carrots, snap peas, green beans
- Chocolate milk
Personally, I’m tired of seeing articles on the internet telling you what snacks you should be eating for weight loss. No specific food has that power. How you put your snacks and meals together for the day does. So, go enjoy a snack so you’re not so hungry when it’s time for your next meal. Just remember — snacks are not a requirement. But certainly eat one if you’re hungry between meals.
P.S. The following snacks will make you fat when eaten in excess. Consider them “treats”.
- Ultra-processed foods (where none of the ingredients are in their natural state)
- Energy bars (many are just cookies in disguise)
- Ice cream
Got any other foods you’d like me to add to these lists?