The best mid-morning snacks do more than help curb your hunger. Snacks can help you add an elusive serving of fruits and vegetables, or they can help you sneak in more whole grains. In short, the best snacks don't come from vending machines. You'll have to do a bit of planning and preparation in advance, but your waistline and energy level will both be better off as a result of your work. Pack these snacks before you head out for the day.
A serving of cut-up fruits or vegetables makes a great snack. A serving is equal to about a cup of fresh fruits and vegetables. Apples, oranges, cut-up strawberries, very ripe grapes or very ripe cherry tomatoes make nutritious snacks. If possible, don't add sauces or toppings to your fruits and vegetables. Condiments can be high in sugar. If you crave something salty and crunchy, try a cup of popped popcorn or a half-cup of low-fat, whole-grain crackers. Use a measuring cup to measure these salty snacks, to ensure that you don't eat more than this serving size. For people craving creamy snacks, choose an ounce of string cheese or a cup of yogurt. If you simply must have something sweet, choose a frozen juice bar made with 100% juice.
Before you eat your snack, drink a tall glass of water. Staying hydrated can help you stay alert and aware, and keeping your belly full of water can help you feel sated and full. Additionally, don't eat a snack simply because the clock tells you it's break time. Eat only when you're hungry. You may find you can skip the snack altogether. While you're eating your snack, don't read or do anything else that's distracting. Focus on the food. You'll retrain your brain to consider eating a primary event, not something you do while you're doing something else.