Snacks are meant to be eaten with hunger and to hold you over until your next meal, not for stress or boredom! Emotionally eating or eating when you are not truly hunger can lead to weight gain. Eat your snack mindfully and slowly. The best snacks combine protein and fiber to boost metabolism and keep you fuller longer! Try to choose whole foods instead of processed packaged snacks because food companies make these snacks "hyper palatable" by filling snacks with sugar, fat and salt which keeps you hungry and wanting more- so you buy more! Don't fall for it! Choose real foods. Here are my top snacks to pack for work and watch me talk about them on NY1 News with Kristen Shaughnessy here!
1. Single Serve Hummus + Carrots
Hummus is a great source of protein and fiber and is a good way to fill your stomach without the use of empty calories! Use it as a dip for crunchy baby carrots or even apple for a savory bite with a sprinkle of paprika or cayenne pepper on top!
2. Peanut Butter + Apple
Another classic combo of of protein + fiber (and vitamins) to keep you energized during the day! This time crisp and sweet apples with high fiber, protein and good fats from any nut butter of your choice! Research has shown high fiber intake has been shown to support weight loss by keeping you fuller longer, optimizing your gut health to support your good bacteria in your digestive system, linked with immunity and regular bowel movements!
3. 2% Yogurt or Cottage cheese
Yes, you read it right! 2% Fat Dairy! Never cut out fat from your diet! Your body needs some fat to keep your body functioning, and fat, especially in dairy, will help your body better absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, & K. Always have at least 1-2% of fat in your dairy to better use vitamin D and calcium, for strong bones! The fat content is not enough to do any harm, and in fact will keep you full and satisfied before your next meal! A rich source of probiotics (good bacteria) to balance out your stomach for the day along with various vitamins and minerals supports immunity and good digestion! The best sources of probiotics are dairy items, like Greek yogurt (with more protein than regular yogurt) and kefir, a fermented dairy beverage perfect in smoothies (try my favorite brands Lifeway or Wallaby).
4. Roasted Chickpeas
Just like hummus (made of chickpeas) roasting these heavenly,crunchy bites will give you a enough protein and fiber to energize and strengthen you so you can continue to perform your best! Simply toss them on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasoning (I love adding a little spice with cayenne and cumin, watch here on To Eat With Love: Mediterranean) and roast at 450F degrees until crisp, about 10-15 minutes!
5. Mini Cheese
The Italian in me always needs some cheese! Choose mini, snack packs ~1 oz each to keep your portions in check. Cheese is a great source of calcium and can be good for a quick bite just to hold you over until the end of the day.
6. Hard-boiled Eggs
This is a quick and simple snack that packs a huge nutrition punch. Eggs are high in protein, B vitamins, and minerals1 And have the whole egg, yolk included! Don't worry about the cholesterol in the yolk, emerging research has shown cholesterol naturally occurring in food has little effect on high blood cholesterol levels typically associated with heart disease. Make ahead of time for the week, boil a dozen on the weekend so you can easily grab them any time you need! Or get creative and toss them into an egg salad with hummus instead of mayo for a fiber + protein combo meal, check out my favorite healthy egg salad recipe here!