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3 Tips For Healthy Snacking Throughout the Day

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It can be difficult to make it through the day on three meals (or less) alone. That’s why we rely on snacks to keep us going between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But while snacking can help fill the hunger gaps between these meals, too much of it, or eating the wrong foods for snacks, can lead to negative side effects like weight gain and even tooth decay. If that news makes you take pause and put down the bag of potato chips you were eating, read along to learn more about how you can make your snacking habits a little healthier.

Only Eat When You’re Hungry

This sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But the next time you find yourself reaching for a snack, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Hunger is how the body tells you when it’s time for more fuel. Imagine filling up your car’s gas tank even though the tank is already full. You’d never do that, would you? You’d be wasting money and maybe damaging your car.
So, why are you still eating if you’re not really hungry? Many people snack not out of hunger, but out of boredom, stress, or even both. Before you snack, it’s worth taking a second to consider why you want to eat: are you really hungry, or is it something else? If it’s boredom or stress, take a short break away from the desk, do some breathing exercises, or pop in a stick of chewing gum instead.

Drink Plenty of Water

Another reason you may be feeling a false sense of hunger is because you’re dehydrated. If you’re not drinking the recommended 9 cups per day for women or 13 cups per day for men, your body may not be getting the necessary fluids it needs to successfully flush out toxins and carry nutrients to your cells. Even slight dehydration can cause fatigue, and yes, hunger.
You can get some water from most foods, as well as those sugary sodas you may enjoy. But just as your dentist says, too much soda can hurt your teeth’s enamel, leading to more calories. It’s best to stick with water, which has virtually no downsides. Plus, it’s been shown that drinking water before your meals makes you less hungry.

Eat Healthier, More Filling Snacks

Snacking is perfectly acceptable, but binging on the wrong kinds of foods is a no-no. The snacks that you find in vending machines are high in calories but oddly low in fulfillment, meaning you need to eat more of them to feel full. And it doesn’t hurt that they’ve been engineered to taste so good they’re almost addicting.
Instead, switch out these sugary, salty, and sweet snacks for healthier, natural options. Some foods, such as asparagus and lettuce, are so low in calories that you can mow down on them guilt-free. Plus, natural foods provide benefits that you can’t get from processed foods. For example, apples contain antioxidants and help clean your teeth. Try getting that from a bag of potato chips. If you need some healthy snack ideas, the American Heart Association has a list of snacks that it’s approved as heart-healthy.
These tips will get you on the right path, but the only way to truly be a healthy snacker is to stick with it. The more routine these habits become, the easier they’ll be to stick to. You might even find a new favorite snack to replace that guilty pleasure.

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