Food - our favorite thing. The three of us have wildly different appetites and snack habits, but we find that sticking to these 8 rules helps us ALL make healthy decisions throughout the day.
Snack for HUNGER, and hunger only.
Sad? Bored? Tired? Angry? Don’t reach for food to soothe yourself, unless you’re truly hungry. Our litmus test? If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple (or carrot sticks, or cucumber slices, etc) - you aren’t hungry. You’re craving. Step away from cheese puffs and candy bars and take a walk, call a friend, write in a journal. We promise, you’ll feel way better when you do something proactive, rather than eating, to combat those not-so-happy feelings.
There’s nothing worse than finding yourself starving at 3pm with only a vending machine in sight. Take a couple minutes each week to plan ahead. Throw together some grab and go bags of trail mix, slice veggies to dip in hummus, or stock up on your favorite bars and keep them in your desk drawer. You won’t find us anywhere without a stash of our favorite Made in Nature Snacks (dried mangoes, coconut chips, tart cherries) in our laptop bags.
Put. The. Bag. Down.
The biggest way to sabotage your snacking goals? Lettings your portion sizes get out of control. And what’s the easiest way to do that? Eating straight out of a giant bag. If you’re snacking on tortilla chips straight from the bag, before you know it, you’ll have consumed 5 servings. Take out what you want, seal the bag, and put it away.
Stick to the snack trifecta of PROTEIN, CARBS, & FIBER.
We obviously love the trifecta, but we love it even more so when it comes to snacks. Carbs (natural sugar) give you energy, while protein keeps you full, and fiber aids your digestive system. Finding a snack you love that has all of these things will keep you satisfied without hitting that post meal slump.
Pick healthy, but satisfying.
Don’t snack on things you hate. If you’re eating a granola bar everyday that tastes like cardboard - you’re not going to be happy. Find some healthy snacks that you LOVE and keep them around.
Hide the phone (and turn off the tv).
Mindless snacking is REAL. We’re sure you’ve heard of the 20 minute rule before; it takes your brain 20 minutes from the time you start eating to recognize that you are full. BUT in addition to actual hunger, MEMORY and ATTENTION also play a role in your food intake. Your body has a harder time recognizing hunger cues when you are distracted, so try your very best to take time for yourself to appreciate your snacks. This goes for meal times too - take your time, pay attention, and enjoy your food.
All day grazing is NOT snacking.
We could write a whole other blog post on the differences - and there’s a lot of conflicting advice about what’s better (3 big meals a day? 6 smaller meals a day?) BUT, we can tell you that recognizing the difference between snacking and grazing is hella important. Grazing is eating pretty constantly, and only small meals. Snacking is filling in the gaps in between your regular meal time with a small snack. If you find that grazing works for you, awesome! But make sure your snacking doesn’t turn into grazing if you are still eating 3 solid meals per day. That’s a surefire way to consume more food than your body really needs.
Reach for REAL.
Last but not least, and if you only follow ONE of these rules - reach for REAL. Whole, real foods are going to fuel your body infinitely better than processed foods. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label - let it go and swap for something better. Need something easy, prepackaged, and real? We approve of literally anything from Made in Nature’s amazing line of snacks - check it out HERE.
Need more snacking inspo? Check out our personal picks for snacks that pass all of our smarter snacking requirements!
OUR FAVORITE SNACKS
Jess: Trail mix. I literally keep a reusable bag of it in my purse at all times and I re-stock it every week. My mix of choice right now is Made in Nature tart cherries (because …. Just cherries! No added sugar!), dark chocolate, almonds and walnuts. Any time I need a little nosh - I have sweet covered, I have satisfying covered, I have crunch covered, I have chewy covered.
Kate: I’m probably one of the ONLY people in the world who doesn’t love nuts. I like to use them in recipes and for dairy substitutions, but unlike Jess, can’t get on the trail mix train.
I do love sweet and savory mixed though. I like to keep clementines handy because they taste like candy and travel well, plus a bag some something crunchy and salty - usually gluten-free pretzels, popcorn, or Made in Nature Kale Chips (the olive flavor is on point).
Jen: I’m hungry. Like always, constantly, hungry. Since I’m a volume eater, I make sure I have veggies pre sliced and ready to go for when hunger hits - always dipped in something like hummus or my favorite ginger dressing. I also have a newly discovered love for apricots. Is that weird? Made in Nature’s Apricots in the Buff are seriously the best thing ever for sweet cravings.