If your home is stocked with the “normal” snacks, it’s time to clean out and restock with healthy snacks. Getting in the habit of grabbing healthy snacks will help make choosing healthier meals more habitual, too.
Identifying the usual unhealthy snacks
According to this article on insidermonkey.com, a 2015 study done by Produce for Better Health Foundation revealed these top 10 snacks consumed by Americans:
- breath mints/strips
- ice cream
Though we don’t think of gum and mints as a snack, some of the ingredients do flow into our digestive system. And unless you go out of your way to find brands without, you are probably ingesting aspartame or other artificial sweeteners being studied as potential contributors to cancer.
So think twice about chewing gum or letting your kids chew gum as often, if at all. Maybe this will also help reduce any extra coffee intake after you brush your teeth in the morning!
Converting to healthy snacks
If we could convert our usual go-tos to healthy snacks, the top 10 list of snacks consumed by Americans might look like this:
- home-made (paleo even better) chips or crackers
- organic mint
- organic yogurt
- organic raw nuts
- paleo cookies
- organic bars
- raw veggies
Our new list is not ranked based on healthiness, but is showing how healthy snacks can replace not-so-healthy snacks and still sooth our cravings. Also, if we substitute veggies for more than one craving, we are more likely to reach the ideal 50% of veggies in our diets.
- Fruit can satisfy chewy, crunchy, tart or sweet just as well as candy. Think clementines, dates, apples, grapes, pears and berries.
- If fruit is your #2, that’s a great start. But switch to raw or steamed vegetables and you’re choosing even smarter. Peppers and cucumbers are sweet!
- Crunching on raw carrots helps clean food out of your teeth and can sooth the need to chew. Great for the car ride!
- Bake your own sweet potato, root, apple or plantain chips – your choices are endless.
- Buy more organic breath mints (you may have to look online) or chew on a sprig of mint or parsley from your spice garden.
- Have fun adding healthy toppings to organic yogurt or making healthier versions of popsicles, organic ice cream or even paleo or dairy-free ice cream. Find tons of recipes online.
- Nuts are fantastic! Buy organic, raw nuts for the most health benefits. Definitely avoid added sugars or salt.
- Organic or paleo cookies will help you avoid additives and food dyes while satisfying the taste for chewy deliciousness.
- Make your own bars or trail mix using organic dried fruit, raw nuts and raw seeds.
- Raw veggies make delicious crunchy dippers. Try peppers, snap peas, cucumber slices, carrots, zucchini slices and more with nut butters, organic hummus or healthy cheeses. Steam veggies first for easier digestion.
Start by replacing your own #1 unhealthy snack with a healthy one and replace another one each week. Or go cold turkey and clean out your cupboards pronto. Whichever way works best for you, your body will surely thank you for feeding it healthy snacks!
*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.