It’s not uncommon to see bowls speckled with popcorn or almond crumbs littered around my desk—but there’s a rhyme and reason to this clutter.
Over the years, I’ve learned how to snack smart. Through talking to my family doctor about the benefits of snacking to control hypoglycemia and using my My Fitness Pal app, I’ve compiled an arsenal of handy portion control tips based on my weight, activity level, and age.
Prepackaging healthy snacks on the go can help you feel full while consuming appropriate portion sizes, and when you make good choices, you don’t find yourself browsing regret-enducing vending machines in the afternoon. Enjoying snacks lets you stick to weight loss goals, avoid binge eating, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce hunger between meals, too, according to the Mayo Clinic. So go ahead and snack responsibly, with these tips:
Choose Protein-Packed Foods
Many health sources will tell you about snacking on protein to stay satiated. They’re right! When I choose protein-rich foods, I don’t feel hungry nearly as fast as if I just grab a piece of toast or handful of dry cereal.
When planning out my snacks, I look at the nutrition data on the product packaging. I calculate about 100 calories of the food, consider that my snack-size portion, and put it in a reusable glass dish with a tight-fitting plastic lid. By having snacks that are ready-to-go, I can grab them easily whether I get the munchies at home or am headed out of the house.
My go-to protein-rich snacks include:
- Dry-roasted almonds that are lightly salted or dipped in dark chocolate
- A hard-boiled egg with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
- A small apple sliced and topped with a dollop of sunflower seed butter and raisins
- Premade hummus packets and fresh veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or grape tomatoes, for example)
- A fruit smoothie amped-up with vegan rice or hemp-based protein powder
Pick Fluffy, Filling Options
I have a tendency to graze when I’m brainstorming ideas at my desk. I tend to keep picking away at whatever is nearby—so that’s when I turn to snacks that won’t make me feel bad later. My go-to option is popcorn prepared in coconut oil, which is a great choice if you need to satisfy both a sweet and savory craving. Besides, it’s so tasty on its own, you don’t need butter or sugary toppings. It’s packed with more nutrients than you expect, like fiber (which will fill you up) and iron, while also being a gluten-free option.
I buy popcorn in large bags or make my own. (Rice cakes also come in bulk packages, if that’s more your style.) Then I use a special bowl from a novelty popcorn serving set each time I want to snack. I know it holds approximately two cups, which is less than 100 calories of the fluffy food. On the go, I toss the crunchy snacks into a travel mug and tuck it in car console for easy handling.
Fill Up on Veggies
If you need a large quantity to feel satisfied, choose vitamin-rich foods. A big bowl of cucumber slices, celery sticks, bell pepper sticks, and kohlrabi spears are crunchy, slightly sweet, and low calorie.
When I buy groceries, I set aside time as I’m putting them away to prep the fresh produce for snacking, juicing, and upcoming meals. Wash, cut, and store as much fresh produce as you’ll use over the next few days so you always have something healthy to reach for even when your schedule gets crazy.
What are your favorite selections for healthy snacks on the go? Do you have any portion control tips? Tweet @TomsofMaine about your favorite between-meal munchies that help you steer clear of poor food choices!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.
Why It’s Good
When you stick to small portions of healthy foods, snacking is a good thing! Eating between meals helps you be more responsible at mealtime by saying "no" to that second helping and keeps your blood sugars stable throughout the day.