Most everyone hits that afternoon energy slump, and often it’s a result of poor snack choices.  Can smart snacking fuel your day and help you meet your goals? The answer is yes!

First things first, let’s clarify what a snack is. A snack is a small meal, designed to balance your blood sugar and keep you from feeling as hungry at the next meal or snack. It is not a full-blown meal that should make you feel full for hours. Many people lose the snacking game by mindlessly eating until they feel full and thus take in too many calories. If you want to start snacking better, you need to be SMART about it!

Schedule in Snacks – Many people wait until they are too hungry before they reach for a snack. This can easily lead to overeating and consuming extra calories. Not to mention, skipping a snack can cause your energy levels to drop and you to be less productive.

To combat this, schedule in snacks on your calendar. Setting an alarm will remind you to fuel your body appropriately. If you are busy in the moment, you can hit “snooze” and come back to it in a few minutes. Creating a snack schedule can help you stay on the right eating path!

Measure – Knowing how much you are eating is key to keeping snacking intact. Pre-measuring snacks and bringing them with you to work, school or in the car helps with portion control. You’d be surprised how many handfuls of nuts you might grab if you aren’t paying attention. Blink your eyes and you just ate 500 calories of nuts and you didn’t even know it! Be sure to measure, count and baggie food to win the snacking game!

Add in Color – Snacks can be a great way to add in food groups! Adding colorful vegetables and fruit to your snack time is a great way to boost the nutrients for less calories! The fiber and water content found in fruits and veggies will help you get full faster, stay full longer and potentially eat less. Each color represents a different nutrient package, so add in a rainbow of colors to complete your snack.

Reach for Protein – Many snackers reach for carbohydrates at snacks because they are tasty and easy to grab, but carbs by themselves will set you up for a blood sugar spike and drop. Protein, on the other hand, slows down digestion and will help you feel full faster. Adding protein to a carbohydrate will help stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels. Snacks like a hard-boiled egg and fruit, whole grain crackers and string cheese or an apple and peanut butter will satisfy your taste buds and help fuel your day. So, be sure to reach for protein for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.

Track Your Snacks – Tracking your snacks as a part of your total daily calories is important for maintaining a healthy weight. If you forget to add in those handfuls of nuts, post-workout protein shakes or bites of your spouse’s ice cream after dinner, you could be cheating yourself from meeting your goals. Awareness is key to better snacking and healthier eating, so track those snacks!

Snacking can be the best or worst thing for your diet and goals. Learning to snack better can help you stay on the right path. Be mindful about your choices and plan ahead so that you can conqueror snacking with success!

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If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.

Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.

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