Secrets to Healthy Snacking

As teens, you are aware that some snacks are just not as good for you as others. The problem is how to put what you know in practice.

What you should eat?

In a survey conducted by Kidshealth.org, it was shown that most teens aged 13-18 know which foods are good for snacks and which ones are not. This is good because the first step to snacking healthy is to know foods to go for.

A lot of teens are also making healthy snack choices, choosing whole-grains, yogurt, fruits and veggies over chips and junk foods.

How to eat?

Some teens who took the survey gave suggestions on how to snack better. Some of them include: stocking up on healthy foods. It’s convenient and practically eliminates the possibility of you reaching for unhealthy foods.

Planning ahead and preparing healthy snacks. This works especially when you’re very hungry and the nearest food items are chips and soft drinks.

Planning your meals and knowing when to eat also helps you avoid getting hungry too soon and grabbing the nearest unhealthy food in sight.

Enlist your parents help in stocking up on healthy foods.

Eat yummy-but-not-very-healthy foods once in a while. This way you won’t feel deprived and begin craving for them. You can eat them as a reward for say, working hard all week.

How much you are eating?

Knowing how much you are eating is as important as knowing what you are eating.

Some participants of the survey suggest eating slowly and enjoying your food.

Eating slowly gives our stomach time to catch up and realize that it’s getting fuller. This way, you can avoid overeating.

Before you eat, ask yourself just how hungry you are. Once you’ve decided, get a bowl or plate and pour your snack in. Eating directly from the box makes you eat more.

Why you eat

We eat because our body our needs nutrients and fuel or energy. We eat because we are hungry.

We also eat when we are not hungry. And this is what we should avoid. For example, when we’re bored and got nothing to do, we have this tendency to reach for something to munch on – just to have something to do.

Others report eating when they are feeling rather emotional; like when they’re depressed or angry or stressed.

To avoid emotional eating, look for something to do, something to keep you occupied – something healthy and productive.

Are you too hungry?

Most of the teens who took the survey say admit that they snack after school. Some snack when they get home. Others snack before after school activities like games or studies.

Teens are aware that when they skip meals they tend to eat more than usual, which could then lead to weight gain. To avoid getting too hungry before your next meal, practice healthy snacking in between meals.

Another trick to avoid weight gain is to eat small meals throughout the day instead of eating huge, huge meals at once.

Your best route though, is to eat three healthy square meals per day, with set snack times.

Multitasking with food

Being busy with something and eating at the same time can lead to overeating. Here the usual activity-plus-eating combos:

  • Eating while watching TV
  • Eating while studying
  • Eating while hanging out with friends

Avoid eating while you’re busy with something else. And in situations like hanging out with friends, just mind what you eat and limit your intake of unhealthy snacks.

Teens’ top healthy snacks

Some of the most popular snack among teenagers includes:

  • Apples
  • Yogurt with fruits and cereal
  • Bananas and oranges
  • Cut-up veggies such as: carrots, celery and broccoli with low-fat dip or dressing

Smoothies, granola bars, protein bars and/or energy bars. Nutrition experts say that though these snacks are healthy, they can be loaded with sugar. Check the label before going for them.