In a world of mixed nutritional messages, one of the most confusing concerns the humble snack. To snack, or not to snack? That is the question.

Unless you’ve got the discipline of a Zen master, the urge to eat between meals happens to all of us. The question really should be – when I snack, what should I eat?

The trick to snacking is snacking well. You need to have healthy options at hand to stop you reaching for the packet of choc chip cookies at 3pm when hunger strikes. Often our snack cravings are for something sweet (say chocolate), savory (hello chips), creamy (mmm, ice cream), or crunchy (oh peanut brittle, come to mama!).

Rather than sit on your hands, gnawing your bottom lip and willing your craving away (sorry friend, it ain’t gonna happen) you simply need to snack smarter. Here are 4 ways:

1) Next time you’re drooling for something sweet, why not switch the Mars Bar for the following:

  • fresh, whole fruit
  • apple ‘soldiers’ to dip in some organic peanut butter
  • a handful of dried fruit or trail mix
  • a green smoothie with a hit of mango
  • banana “ice cream” (peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor and enjoy)
  • dates

 

2) To tackle your savory cravings, try these healthy alternatives:

  • olives
  • pickles or pickled vegetables, such sauerkraut or kimchi
  • tabouli
  • hommus with vegetable sticks
  • steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu or umeboshi vinegar
  • salted edamame
  • home-made baba ganoush with vegie sticks

 

3) Vanquish your creamy craving by eating:

  • a coconut or almond milk smoothie with a hint of fruit
  • avocado
  • rice pudding
  • homemade pumpkin or other pureed vegetable soup
  • mashed sweet potatoes livened with a splash of balsamic vinegar

 

4) Finally, don‘t scoff the Pringles when you can eat these crunchy snacks:

  • firm pears
  • frozen grapes
  • rice cakes
  • popcorn (use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan the healthy way)
  • carrots (particularly sweet, organic baby carrots)
  • celery and your favourite nut butter
  • raw, unsalted nuts like cashews, almonds, and walnuts

Don’t fight the urge to snack, let’s face it, resistance is futile. Instead, tune in to what body needs and choose the smarter option for the benefit of your health, your budget AND your waistline. #winning!

This article originally appeared on Simon Baldwin and has been republished with permission.