Easy Snacking: What A Naturopath Always Has On Hand
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, boost your energy or need something small while on-the-go, healthy snacking is where it’s at! No, I don’t mean nibbling on those overly processed, potato flake ‘veggie chips’. I mean, satisfying and energy balancing bites that keep you going throughout your day (so you can better handle whatever life throws at you!).
Here are the 3 main reasons why I suggest healthy snacks as part of any wellness eating plan:
Regulates blood sugar and prevents overeating
Eating small meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours) effectively keeps your blood sugar in check. Ever skipped a meal or two only to get home after a long day and you could literally eat anything & everything? This is because prolonged fasting between meals can cause your blood sugar to take a nosedive. The result? You’re left starving (and usually not for a hearty salad).
Keeps energy up
With your blood sugar in check, you don’t get the fall of energy that can come along with irregular eating patterns. As long as your snack is balanced, you shouldn’t be crashing mid-afternoon (forget that second latte).
Maintains a healthy weight with a metabolism boost
Think of regular, nutritious snacks as steady fuel for your body. Your hunger is kept in check and your energy is up. This gives your metabolism a slight elevation all day long…even if you don’t make it to the gym 😉
The Basics of a Healthy Snack
What’s not to love? It keeps you full, improves your digestion and keeps your blood sugars balanced. Aim for a minimum of 3 grams per snack.
This nutrient is vital for tissue repair, feeling full and keeping your energy up. Whether you choose lean sources of animal protein (organic whenever possible) or vegetarian options, keep that count above 4 grams with each snack.
In case you missed the memo: fat is our friend! Healthy fats, that is. I mean avocadoes, nuts, seeds, coconut (just to name a few). If you don’t want to feel deprived when eating well, be sure to include a couple of grams per snack to feel satiated.
My Favourites When On-The-Go
Here are my super-quick snacks to keep me sustained through long days at clinic, even longer drives in the car, and meetings that keep my schedule irregular and often unpredictable. These snack options are my saving grace!
Homemade raw trail mix
I mix my own raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, and organic raisins in about equal parts and store it in my car’s glove box. An even quicker option? Buy trailmix in a re-sealable bag for easy snacking. Make sure its without the added sulfites or oils. A couple handfuls can stave off hunger for a good hour or two!
Low sugar protein bar
I love whole foods whenever possible. But sometimes I need to have an ‘emergency’ bar in my desk drawer or purse for times when I forget my lunch (or snack), or work later than expected. Always look for less than 5 g of sugar if it’s a protein bar. If it’s a fruit & nut bar (and usually made with dates) eat a half portion to keep your blood sugars in check.
I usually make this the night before I have a busy day. Mix4 Tbsp of the seeds with 1 cup of non-dairy milk. Keep it in the fridge overnight and in the morning I toss in a handful of coconut chips and frozen berries. Sometimes I add in a ¼ scoop of my favourite chocolate protein powder for a mini meal replacement. Total prep time: 2 minutes. This one is a no-brainer.
There you have it; I hope you’re now inspired to start snacking for better health!
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.