It’s time to talk about snacking!
If you want snacks to work in your favor and not against you, they—like meals—should be planned. But with so many easy and tempting munching choices everywhere you turn these days, it can be hard to know which snacks are the ‘best’ snacks when it comes to clean eating.
A snack attack doesn’t have to derail your clean eating progress—in fact, there are plenty of clean, tasty options to satisfy you. We’re going to share more than a dozen of our go-to clean-eating snacks with you—but first, check out these tips for snacking while on this program:
5 Tips for Smarter Snacking
1. Have predetermined snack options.
A.k.a. plan ahead! Choose three to five healthy snacks to rotate through during the week. It’s easier to choose a healthy snack when you have a set number of options. So when you feel your tummy grumbling by mid-morning or when three-o’clock rolls around all you have to do is choose one of your predetermined snacks. You can always change up your options from week to week—and this is a fun way to get kids involved in meal planning.
2. Prepare your snacks ahead.
Prepare as much as you can ahead of time so you don’t have to spend extra time throwing something together when your stomach is growling. Clean and wash veggies, mix up some homemade trail mix, wash fruit, assemble smoothie bags, hard-boil eggs, etc. Dedicating some time during your weekend prep to snacks will help you make healthy choices all week long.
3. Keep it simple.
There’s no need to complicate things! For your snacks, you want to combine two of the three macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein). For your carbs, you could use fruits, vegetables, or gluten-free grains; for your fats, you could use nuts, seeds, or avocado; for your protein you could use hard-boiled eggs or Greek yogurt. This combo approach will make for a satisfying snack.
4. Read the ingredients.
If purchasing packaged snack foods, always read the ingredients. Be on the lookout for added sugars, partially-hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, acesulfame and sucralose), food dyes, artificial flavorings, and any ingredients that you can’t pronounce. If you’re uncertain of an ingredient, it’s probably best to leave that product at the grocery store and look for something that you feel really confident about. Remember, what you bring home is what you’re going to eat and/or feed to your family, so choose wisely.
5. Consider the timing of your snack.
It’s like your mother always said: “Don’t spoil your dinner!” We recommend spacing out your meals and snacks so they’re about three to five hours apart. This way you don’t fill up too much just before a nourishing meal and your body has ample time to digest. When you graze all day long and don’t allow for adequate time between meals, your body is constantly in digest mode, which takes away from its ability to do other necessary things like repair and recover from everyday wear and tear. In addition, it’s not ideal for optimal blood sugar management. Spacing meals and snacks apart every three to five hours will keep your digestive health and metabolism humming!
Now that you know how to snack well, check out some of our favorite clean-eating options:
16 Go-To Snacks
1. Raw vegetable sticks + 3-4 Tbsp. hummus or guacamole
2. Trail mix:
- ¼ cup nuts or seeds
- 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 Tbsp. low-sugar dried fruit
- 1 Tbsp. dark chocolate chips
3. 1-2 hard-boiled eggs + 1 cup fresh berries or fruit of choice
4. 2 Tbsp. nut or seed butter + 1 apple or banana
5. 1 oz. cheese + ½ cup grapes or fruit of choice
6. Yogurt parfait:
- ¾ -1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼-⅓ cup berries
- 1-2 Tbsp. chopped nuts or seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp. low-sugar granola (less than 5 grams a serving)
7. Deli meat-wrapped vegetable sticks: 1-2 oz. natural deli meat, wrapped around sliced avocado and raw vegetable sticks
8. 2 Tbsp. nut or seed butter + raw carrots and celery sticks
9. 1 oz. cheese slices + 1 serving nut or rice crackers
- ½ – ¾ cup frozen fruit
- handful of spinach
- ¼ avocado (or 1 Tbsp. nut/seed butter)
- 1 scoop of protein powder (all-natural)
- 8-10 oz. unsweetened almond milk or water
- ½ cup ice
11. 2 Tbsp. nut or seed butter drizzled over ½ cup baked sweet potato
12. ½ cup egg/tuna salad on top of cucumber slices
14. 3 cups popcorn + ½ Tbsp. coconut oil
15. Chicken avocado salad:
- 2 oz. chicken
- ¼ cup mashed avocado
- 2-3 Tbsp. chopped celery
- 1 Tbsp. chopped onion
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt and pepper
16. Protein bar such as GoMacro, Rx Bar, KIND Bars, or Chomps Meat Sticks (look for minimal ingredients and 8+ grams protein)
As you can see, the key to smart snacking isn’t about having ‘willpower’ to resist sugary treats, but having the ‘skillpower’ to set yourself up for success by having healthy snacks ready to go. Put our smarter snacking tips to use and try out a few of our favorites this week.