Level Up Your Diet with these Healthy Snack Swaps
I love having special treats at sporting events, while traveling, on the weekends or at the movies. It breaks up the monotony of breakfast, lunch, and dinner and adds a ‘fun-factor’ to your normal diet. A simple snack can set savory, salty or sweet cravings at bay.
Yes, snacking can be a healthy choice… or down-right disastrous to your goals if you’re not conscious of the quantity and quality of your craving-cutting food!
There’s nothing wrong with a bite here and there between meals, however snacking on too much fatty or sugary treats is a sure-fire way to lose track of your dietary goals. The best way to stay on track is to be prepared with options that support your health. Personally, my self-control ends at the checkout line. If it doesn’t go home with you – you won’t eat it! If it does go home with you, make sure it’s one of the swaps mentioned below.
Personally, my self-control ends at the checkout line. If it doesn’t go home with you – you won’t eat it!
Think about when you supercharged a character in your favorite childhood video game – your snacks are about to get revitalized and recharged to help you satisfy cravings without offsetting your goals. Level up your snacks by accounting for the extra calories and choose healthy options that will keep your snacky hands happy and your goals on track!
Milkshake vs Protein Shake
A milkshake is sweet, creamy dessert reminiscent of childhood. They are also loaded with refined sugar and extra fat calories that might put you to sleep after the inevitable sugar rush.
Instead, reach for your blender and swirl up a protein shake! You can get the same sweet, creamy flavors with little effort and a lot of reward. Protein will help you stay fuller, longer and give your body the fuel it needs until your next feeding.
I like to keep frozen bananas around because they add a sweet, creamy texture to my go-to shake with chocolate protein and some powdered peanut butter. Get creative! There are so many flavors available on the market–it will be hard to get bored.
Potato Chips & Dip vs Hummus and Veggies
Chips are of my favorite snacks. Regardless the single serving I portion out, I always end up in the bag for more.
At their best, baked chips are still made with corn; and at their worst are overly salty, fried, and begging to be consumed. To make matters stickier, what’s a chip without his dip? Dips like queso and onion dip are high in fat calories and can easily sky-rocket your total intake for the day.
Leave them at the store and level up with some fresh cut veggies and hummus. Veggies are like free food – you can eat as much of them as your heart desires without worry. And there are endless varieties of color, flavor, and crunch-factor. Throw in a healthier dip option like hummus and you’re on your way as a satisfied healthy snacker.
Milk Chocolate Candy Bars vs Dark Chocolate
Let’s face it, chocolate is just plain good for the soul. However, somewhere along the way chocolate was tainted with a ton of sugar and milk fat and morphed into an array candy bars with no redeeming health qualities. (Let’s blame Bowser.) And no, Snickers bars, will not keep you from being a diva… but a dark chocolate just might!
Snickers bars, will not keep you from being a diva… but a dark chocolate just might!
Dark chocolate is loaded with minerals and nutrients that support a healthy body and a happy mind. Lucky for us, many fair-trade organic companies have come up with some pretty delicious flavor combinations to keep your tastebuds tantalized. If you need chocolate on standby, reach for 70% dark or higher.
White Bread Toast with Butter vs Sprouted Grain Toast with Almond Butter
Toast with butter is fast, easy, and portable. It is a great snack if you’re one to hit the snooze button and are on-the-go! Much like chocolate, it’s safe to say that not all bread is created equally. Many years ago, the flour we use to make bread got a makeover and came out bleached and lacking in nutrients. Insert the dreaded ‘refined flour’ that quickly becomes sugar in the body.
Instead of grabbing your average white loaf, be sure to swap it for a sprouted grain option! Sprouted grain bread use nutrient dense ingredients that are higher in protein and fiber to keep you full and sustained. In addition, using a topping like almond butter will make this snack a complete protein and cut cravings by filling you up for longer!
Soda Pop vs Homemade Flavored Soda Water
Ok this one isn’t exactly a snack, but beverages can also get tricky between or with meals as they add to your overall calorie intake. Soda is an American favorite and a big ‘ol topic for debate. Some cities even limit the size you’re allowed to purchase!
Don’t supersize your waistline over a soda. To get your bubbly fix, try flavored soda water! By itself, it is 0 calories. If sweetness is what you crave, try adding a teaspoon of superfood extracts like cranberry or elderberry juice. If you’re more of a savory-sipper, there are several flavors of ‘bitter’s’ that you can add to keep things fizzy and fun!
Lauren Rae is a professional fitness talent, speaker, writer and consultant in Dallas, Texas. As a fitness chef she creates unique recipes with elevated ingredients that promote a lean physique, wellness and balance within the body. Lauren Rae is also a trained vocalist and has been featured in the music, food and fitness industries on the Food Network and in publications like Ironman and TRAIN Magazine.