Feeling hungry in the afternoon? Don’t fight the craving! You don’t have to feel guilty about eating afternoon snacks. Snacking in between meals not only prevents you from overeating, but is also a great way to get an extra serving of fruits and vegetables or whole grains. As part of National Healthy Weight Week, here are helpful tips to remember when you snack:
- Eat in moderation. Snacks can be eaten to satisfy your midday hunger, but remember to save room for your regular meals—where most of your nutrition come from. Control your portions by putting a small amount of your snack in a small plate instead of eating it directly from the package.
- Fill your pantry with healthier foods. When hunger strikes, we tend to eat foods that are within reach—snacks from the vending machine, the fridge or on the counter-top. Shop and stock up on healthy snacks, like fruit and veggies, yogurt, nuts, or whole wheat crackers, to have on hand.
- Choose healthier beverages between meals. Thirst is often confused with hunger. Before you snack, drink something instead. Water is your best choice. Avoid sugary beverages such as soda, iced tea, bubble tea and sports drinks that have empty calories and too much added sugar. Try plain tea or coffee, or with low-fat milk and sugar substitute.
- Read food labels when buying snacks or beverages. Compare nutrition labels and choose foods with less fat, sugar and sodium. Buying snacks that are less than 100 calories per package can be a good choice if you are concerned about weight. For beverages, choose drinks with little-to-no sugar.
- Be aware of your snacking. Snacking while watching TV or a computer screen distracts your mind from the food you’re eating. Take the moment to enjoy and savor your food. That way, you are less likely to overeat.
For healthy snack ideas, check out our website. Happy snacking!
Written by Bonnie Tse.
Bonnie Tse is part of the Health Education Department at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Hunter College.