To snack or not to snack, that is the question? While I don’t believe there is anything wrong with snacking, it can sometimes be a cue that our meals were not as balanced as they could have been. This can cause issues with our blood sugar causing mood swings, hanger, shakes and general bitchiness. Nobody wants that, right?! So if you are going to have a snack, you might as well make it a healthier option. Have a look at my easy healthy snack ideas to get started.
Blood Sugar Spikes:
Every time we sit down to eat, we are choosing how we want to feel. That’s right, the food we eat affects not only our health, but also our mood. When we choose foods that are higher in terms of their glycemic index or glycemic load, this can have a profound effect on our energy levels and our moods.
I used to be sooooo bitchy if I didn’t eat on time, missed a meal or ate foods that were too high in sugar. I never understood the relationship that food had on my mood, but it was there. I thought that I was just someone who loved food and felt she had no control over it. People (my mom and my friends) would call me out on it too. They would say “Oh, Jaclyn needs to eat now, she is getting bitchy.” And we would laugh, but it really wasn’t funny. I felt out of control around food, I didn’t want to always be hungry, but I was. The reason for that was that the foods and meals I was eating were so unbalanced. I focused strictly on calories and ignored everything else. I was eating super low fat, low protein and heavy on the carbs and barely any fibre, no wonder I was constipated (TMI?). Years later, when I would learn more about nutrition, I would come to understand that balancing my blood sugar was the real problem and that I wasn’t a bitch after all (high five!).
If you want to know more about what foods to eat specifically to balance your blood sugar and why this is so important, please check out this post here. It goes into more detail on the effects of blood sugar and how to structure your plate.
Why this Matters: Hormones 101:
If you want to learn a bit more about your hunger hormones and how they relate to the food you are eating, I did a whole Facebook Live on it. So check out this video!
Balance your hunger hormones + green smoothie! 💚🙌🙋
Posted by Holistic Foodie on Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Easy Healthy Snack Ideas:
So if you are eating three nutrient dense, blood sugar stable meals a day, where does that leave snacking?
Snacking can be done in a healthy way, as seen below with all of my easy healthy snack ideas. Nobody knows your body better than you do, so if you find yourself hungry between meals, you should absolutely have a snack. It is important to be aware of the kind of snack you are choosing. You want to go for ones that are still protein, fibre and fat (good fat) rich. If you find that you are really hungry between meals, look back to see what you ate that day. And see if you could have added in more fibre, fat or protein (or maybe drank more water). Sometimes, adding in something rather than restricting more and more is actually the answer. Because what happens when you do restrict, most likely you binge later on. And we want to avoid those binges from happening in the first place, because those never feel good.
So what does easy healthy snacking ideas actually look like? I wanted to include some varied options that you could have on hand.
A mini smoothie: if this option is available to you, or you planned ahead this is a solid, easy healthy snack idea. It offers a way to reset your blood sugar if you do it right. By right, I mean focusing on including lots of greens (or other veggies), protein, fibre and minimal fruit. I love fruit, but it can be overdone in a smoothie, leading to a spike in your blood sugar. Opt for berries as they contain less sugar than other fruits, like bananas, mangos or other fun tropical fruits. I still love bananas and will never give them up (EVER!), but if you are trying to reset your blood sugar, it may be best left to a minimum. Try this recipe below and let me know how you like it.
1 cup dairy free (unsweetened) milk or water
a large handful of greens (spinach, kale, sprouts)
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 scoop of protein powder (look for unsweetened, see my note below)
fat of some kind (either tbsp. of nut butter or 1/4 of an avocado)
1/2 cup mixed berries
1/4 banana (optional)
Add all ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
Cucumber Slices with Tuna: I love having cucumber slices topped with tuna, or my vegan version of tuna. Sometimes I just top it with avocado or guac. It is a refreshing, tasty and flavourful snack that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Mix up the tuna with some mayo and hemp hearts, serve on cucumber slices.
For a plant based version- use this recipe instead.
Mini Chia Pudding: I love having chia pudding anytime of the day really. You can get pretty creative and add extra protein with some protein powder, or glow powder for extra skin nourishment (one of my FAVE boosters). Or add in some collagen or cacao powder. Try to stick to berries for topping as these are lower in sugar and add some good fat to it like a bit of nut butter to ensure you stay satiated.
2 tbsp. chia seeds
6-7 tbsp. dairy free milk (unsweetened)
1 tbsp. nut butter
Pinch of cinnamon
Berries for topping
Cacao nibs or nuts for topping
Mix the chia seeds with the milk and stir to combine, add the cinnamon if you wish.
Place in the fridge for at least 10-15 minutes.
Add all the toppings you wish (nut butter, berries, cacao nibs). Hummus and veggies: The hummus is a good source of protein, fibre and fat and having it with veggies like celery and cucumber are a great option. You can also serve it with some crackers, provided they are made with real food ingredients, contain fibre and protein. I like Mary’s crackers as an option.
Coconut Fat Bombs: I am obsessed with these fat bombs and make them all the time. You can sub the coconut butter for oil, I have in the past, but this will change the flavour and I much prefer coconut butter.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Balls: These are pretty quick to prepare and having them in the fridge ready to go is also hella convenient. Although these have dates in them, those dates are also a good source of fibre so they should help with keeping your blood sugar stable. Plus the oats in them also will provide you with some complex carbs, additional fibre and manganese (an important mineral). Hard boiled egg: Not the most exciting, but eggs are pretty much the perfect food, nutrition wise. They contain protein, healthy fat and vitamins and minerals. You can easily have hard boiled eggs on hand for a snack. Make it a little more exciting by adding some hot sauce, spices or have a soft boiled egg with some crackers.
Do you find yourself snacking throughout the day? If so, try and keep a log of what you are eating and feel free to send it my way and I’ll look to see if you can add or change things up.
What are your go-to easy healthy snack ideas?