Eating is a basic human need. We are biologically wired to eat in order to survive. However, we frequently forget or neglect to recognize the importance of fueling our bodies adequately for our physiological health as well as our mental and emotional health.
Ever hear the term hangry (a combination of angry + hungry)? We all suffer from being hangry from time to time, especially if we go too long in between meals. We get short tempered, frustrated, and impulsive, and we take it out on those around us who have to suffer from our own personal negligence.
Irritability, frustration, fatigue, and exhaustion are all natural consequences of your body being deprived of food. Eating healthy snacks is a great way to prevent these symptoms, keep your body fueled and functioning properly, make you and those around you happier, and even regulate your weight.
Too often we think snacking is contradictory to healthy eating. But that is because we usually think of snacks as empty calorie foods like potato chips, cookies, and candy bars.
But according to Today’s Dietitian when food choices are healthy, low-calorie, low-fat options, snacking can sneak in extra nutrients and help control weight. It can increase your metabolism, reduce hunger, and improve glucose and insulin control, all of which help regulate weight control.
How Many Healthy Snacks Can I Eat a Day?
Of course excessive snacking while you are already meeting your daily intake of calories in your main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) isn’t a good idea. Snacking should be a supplement to your diet, and the number of snacks you eat per day will be different for everyone.
Here is a way to figure out how many snacks a day is right for you.
- Use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you should eat per day. Authority Nutrition offers an easy to use calculator that factors in your gender, weight, height, age, and scale of daily activity to provide a number of calories you should consume per day in order to maintain or lose weight.
- Ration out your calories per meal allotting a certain amount for breakfast (always eat breakfast!), lunch, and dinner.
- Consider how many snacks you would like to eat during the day (maybe one in the morning, afternoon, and evening).
- Subtract the amount of snack calories you will consume (based on the number of snacks you want to eat per day) from your daily meals.
Easy. Now you have set aside calories for your snacks, so you don’t have to feel guilty when you go for a mid-morning or early evening snack.
While this post isn’t about weight loss, it is about improving overall mental, physical, and emotional well-being. And incorporating healthy eating habits, taking control of your diet, and indulging in foods that you enjoy more frequently throughout the day can help boost your energy and attitude. Eating healthy snacks every two hours is a great way to prevent the hangry condition while keeping your body, mind, and soul satisfied.
Here are 21 of our favorite healthy snacks under 200 calories.
- 1 apple with 1 tablespoon of apple butter or peanut butter
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 1 light English muffin w/ 1 tablespoon of fat-free cream cheese
- 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt w/ 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 slice whole-grain toast w/ 1 tablespoon of almond butter
- 1 cup of frozen grapes
- 2.2 ounces of ham w/ 1 slice Swiss cheese
- 1 serving whole-wheat crackers w/ 1 ounce of cheese
- 1 100-calorie whole-wheat pita w/ 2 tablespoons of hummus
- 1/4 cup almonds, cashews, or pistachios
- 1 cup of fat-free cottage cheese w/ 1 cup berries
- 1 cup snap peas and 1/2 cup baby carrots w/ 2 tablespoons of fat-free ranch dressing
- 1 6-inch tortilla w/ 2.5 tablespoons of guacamole
- 3 cups of microwavable popcorn
- 20 oz. grape tomatoes w/ 1.3 ounces of goat cheese
- 1 square of dark chocolate w/ 1 oz of dried cherries
- 10 ounces of whole strawberries w/ 4.5 tablespoon of fruit dip
- 1 frozen banana w/ 10 almonds
- 1 low-fat Fudgesicle pop
- 1/2 apple w/ peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt, sorbet, or sherbert
Snack ideas were compiled from lists on Sparkpeople.com.
Are you ready to start taking control and living a happier, healthier life? Get more tips on creating a happier, healthier, more enjoyable life with our FREE ebook: How to Take Control and Start Living a Life You Love.