Americans love to snack. More than half of us snack two or three times per day, with healthier people (surprisingly!) snacking even more often. Famous doctor-controlled weight-loss plans like the Mayo Clinic Diet actually encourage snacking to manage hunger and reduce binge eating. Snacking is also a great way to boost metabolism and improve digestion. So what’s the key to staying healthy—and at an ideal weight—with so much between-meal eating going on? Below, Nadia Leonelli Founder of ELEMENT Snacks, a modern twist on a traditional snack in the form of a rice or corn cake coated in chocolate or fruit gives her top tips on smart snacking.
When it comes to snacking smart, moderation and variety are key. Snacking should be helpful on multiple levels. It should:
- Tame hunger without ruining your appetite
- Increase energy without high doses of sugar or fats
- Satisfy cravings with less than 100 calories
- Not consist of highly processed foods or foods filled with preservatives or artificial ingredients
- Include portable options
In general, our snacking habits are starting to improve. We’re demanding more transparency from food manufactures, opting for more ‘truthful’ food, which has boosted the organic, gluten-free and non-GMO markets to double digits growth and expanded our available options.
So, if you buy non-GMO, gluten free and organic, are you snacking healthy? Not so fast! Healthy snacking is somewhat of an art. It’s important to remember the less-than-100-calories rule and, maybe more importantly, the healthy-ingredients rules.
There are many non-GMO, gluten-free and organic products that are loaded with sugars (albeit with healthier-sounding names such as agave, honey or concentrated fruit juice, just to name a few). Others contain less sugar but they may be high in fat.
This where moderation and variety take center stage. Keep these tips in mind to make the healthiest snack choices:
- Alternate sweet and savory snacks, grains and proteins. Fruit is good, but some fruits have high levels of sugar. Don’t eat just fruit.
- If you go for grains, stay gluten free and try less-processed varieties and in small quantities.
- Focus on plant-based nutrition, but don’t overdo it. A spoonful of yogurt or a cage-free egg are not terrible for you and can be very satisfying. Just don’t load up on cheese and heavy cream!
- Keep an eye on calories. It takes only five macadamia nuts to make 100 calories, and that’s not very satisfying. A mid-size avocado has 240 calories; it might be a better choice for lunch.
What are our favorite things to snack on?
Fruit and vegetables. They’re rich in fiber to help digestion, and many of them are portable. Think: apples, edamame, baby carrots with hummus, etc.
Unsweetened herbal teas, green juices and smoothies (non-dairy). They hydrate, are tasty and come in many flavors.
Plain yogurt. Consider non-dairy yogurt options! Top it with fruit, nuts or chia seeds.
Light, grain-based snacks. Popcorn and rice crackers are good choices.
And what should you do when cravings for something less-than-healthy hit? It happens to the best of us. Which is why we created ELEMENT snacks! Designed to contain fewer carbs but still be somewhat indulgent, our rice and corn cakes are thinner than typical varieties and coated with a layer of chocolate or creamy fruit. Because the rice is puffed, and because the chocolate is creamy, it feels like a truly indulgent snack.
One ELEMENT Dark Chocolate Rice Cake has 80 calories, 5 grams of sugar (or about ¼ of the amount in an apple), 3 grams of fat (about the same found in 5 almonds), zero cholesterol and 11 grams of carbs (which is like eating 2 carrots or half a banana). One or two will definitely keep you satisfied, and best of all? You can take them with you wherever you go.
Also, ELEMENT snacks are gluten free, non-GMO and packaged in BPA-free bags so that everyone can satisfy their sweet tooth safely—and snack themselves to health with no suffering!
ELEMENT is a modern twist on a traditional snack: a rice or corn cake coated in chocolate or fruit. It is fully made in Italy, with local, top of the line ingredients. ELEMENT is gluten free, non-GMO, cholesterol free and without preservatives or artificial flavors. Our chocolate is prepared with a traditional Italian recipe that makes it extremely creamy and rich but with only 5 grams of sugar. The Dark Chocolate snacks are vegan. All the crunch of a candy bar but not the calories (or the chemicals!). For more information, visit www.elementsnacks.com.