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Are you a snacker? Snacks are a very important part of our diet. There are many health benefits found in snacks. However, not all snacks are made equal. Keeping a variety of nutritious snacks on hand is key. The right choice in snacks can help you maintain blood sugar levels and keep energy up throughout the day. Bad snacks on the other hand can do the exact opposite and deplete you of vital nutrients or cause a spike in blood sugar. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for healthy snacks.

Fresh is always best. A good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will typically find all of your fresh products. If a food is perishable it is normally something that is found in nature and has great health benefits Fresh fruits and vegetables are an awesome choice to hold you over between meals. You can easily keep them handy with you on the go,by carrying them in a small insulated bag or cooler. Having snacks readily available will prevent you from making bad choices like salty and preservative rich foods you typically find in fast food restaurants and gas stations. Spending a few minutes a day to meal prep will pay off in the end.

Sometimes fresh isn’t always possible. Maybe you aren’t a fruit fan or veggies just aren’t your thing. Take a sigh of relief!! There are options for you too! If you are one who’s pallet likes a saltier snack, there are a few great choice which include, whole grain crackers, pretzels, olives, nuts, low calorie cheeses and hard boiled eggs. Almond or peanut butter makes a great spread on a slice of multigrain bread. Other great dairy options are cottage cheese and yogurts which provide you with not only calcium but probiotics as well.

Keep in mind a few rules while snacking to ensure that you are maximizing the health benefits that you can get from enjoying the right type of snacks. When reaching for a snack be mindful that it is not a meal and it’s purpose is to bridge meals and maintain blood sugar levels. Pre portion and prep. Keep snack size baggies in stock to easily transfer small serving sizes from items like large bags of nuts or pretzels. Lastly, hydrate. Staying well hydrated with water can help you feel full and prevent snacking out of boredom.

Make sure to pre plan your trips to the grocery store buy creating a list and a system for stocking your pantry with healthy snacks you enjoy!

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