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As a dietitian, I am asked all the time if snacking is healthy. I’m here to tell you the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Snacking on nutrient-dense foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories will also help you increase your intake of crucial vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals called "phytochemicals."
In fact, snacking is not only delicious, it is important for keeping you satisfied throughout the day so you don't overeat at meals, as well as replenishing your energy stores before and after exercising. But what about snacking on cookies, chips, and candy?
Remember that there is no such thing as a “bad” food. Instead, think of foods as “always” or “sometimes” foods. You can absolutely eat your salty, sweet or high fat snacks as well, but choose them in moderation, or about 1-3 times per week. Try planning your “always” and “sometimes” snack foods ahead of time and keep more nutrient-dense filling snack foods handy for when you need them. If you need some ideas of what types of snacks fit the bill, here's a list of my favorite healthy snacks!
Popcorn without a lot of additives and ingredients can be a great snack. It is extremely filling, full of fiber and low in calories. Pop it yourself and add your own spices: I like to add a bit of garlic and onion powders to mine, with a dash of salt. If you can’t pop your own, healthier options at the store include the Buddha brand and Trader Joe’s olive oil and herbed popcorns.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a delicious anti-inflammatory addition to your diet. Try mixing your own trail mixes from your stash at home or buy premade mixes at the store. Watch out for the trail mixes that are high in sugar and salt, and stick to the ones with whole ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce.
While they can be expensive, berries are a very filling and satisfying snack that packs a nutritional punch! Try blackberries for a good dose of fiber or strawberries for a snack high in vitamin C.
4. Banana with nut butter
This is one of my go-to fast and easy snacks. I usually grab a spoonful of almond butter and have a little with each bite of banana. This is a great high protein post workout snack.
5. Peanut Butter & Dates
Once I discovered this flavor combination, I was completely hooked. This is definitely a rich and sweeter snack option that can double as a dessert.
6. Clementines and Apples
These fruits are great because they are so easy to pack and take with you. Surprisingly enough, research has actually proven that eating an apple a day can help keep the doctor away! Both of these fruits are amazing snacks and full of important nutrients to keep you energized throughout your day.
7. Hummus & Bell Peppers
Some of you may not be on the raw veggie bandwagon yet. I had to force myself for a while until I started loving my veggies every day. I found that bringing cut up veggies to work increased the likelihood that I would actually eat them. So start taking all types of cut up veggies with you: sugar snap peas, jicama, celery, bell peppers, cucumber and more!
8. Baby watermelon
Cut a baby watermelon in half and cover it with plastic wrap if you are taking it to go. It is easy to eat with a spoon and it's especially delightful on a warm day.
9. Granola Bars
Granola bars and protein bars in general tend to be a “sometimes” food because they tend to be high in sugar content and artificial ingredients. However, there are better options on the market, including Larabars. Larabars are a great option because they have wholesome ingredients high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
10. Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is a delightful treat filled with fiber, calcium, protein and heart-healthy fats. Check out this delicious and easy recipe that has the consistency of tapioca and is only sweetened with natural sugar from fruit.
11. Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Roasted garbanzo beans perfectly satisfy your craving for a crunchy, salty snack. You can easily make this snack by yourself or buy them at the store.
12. Avocado on Whole Grain Toast
This is a very versatile snack that you can get creative with. Add the avocado to toast in slices, or smash it onto the toast with a fork. This is good with a sprinkle of taco seasoning or with greens and tomato. This snack is not only delicious, but is also very high in heart-healthy fats!
Edamame is a fancy word for whole soybeans. You can buy them frozen and heat them up in the microwave in their shells or you can also buy them without the shell to save the hassle and mess! I do recommend buying organic since conventionally grown soy is typically genetically modified. Sprinkle with a touch of salt or garlic powder for extra flavor.
Approximately 12,000 women aged 40 or younger are diagnosed with breast cancer every year*. Fortunately, there are preventative steps that we can take to help protect ourselves and each other—one of the best ones being exercise. That’s right. Not only does exercise help us release endorphins, but just 30 minutes of exercise three to four times per week can help decrease a person’s risk of developing breast cancer by 30–50%*.
This is hope in a statistic. Just by adopting a more healthy, active lifestyle, we could prevent the risk of developing breast cancer, while also inspiring others to reduce their risk as well. Keep A Breast Foundation has made doing just this their mission through their annual fundraising campaign, Fit 4 Prevention.
Every October, studios from all over the globe participate by raising money through donation-based workout classes for the Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB). They have created a national movement dedicated to educating others about breast cancer prevention through fitness and wellness—something Mindbody is extremely passionate about. Participating in your favorite activities, all while supporting, preventing, and spreading awareness about breast cancer awareness? Let’s get moving.
If you want to take a donation-based class at your favorite studio, encourage your favorite studios to sign up to bring your community closer together in a meaningful way. Registering is quick and easy. If you think your local studio may be interested in participating, have them check out KAB’s help page—where they can learn how to register for a donation-based class during the month of October. KAB even has a social media kit available to fitness studios to help them promote their donation-based classes.
Can’t find a local studio to take a donation-based class near you? Don’t worry, you can still give your support by donating directly to KAB’s website. Luckily, any time that you are moving your body and spreading the word—you’re doing your part in spreading awareness on how to help prevent breast cancer. That is beyond amazing.
This October, we hope you’ll join us in our plight to support the KAB Foundation and its mission to help prevent breast cancer through cultivating a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through movement, health, and wellness—we can reach great heights, together.
To learn more about the KAB Foundation and its mission and how you can get involved further, visit their website.
* National Cancer Institute