Do you ever feel like you just can’t satisfy your hunger? You snack and snack, but for some reason you still don’t feel full? This is because you may not be constructing the proper snack! Snacking is a great way to fuel our bodies in-between meals, but we want to make sure that we are creating fulfilling snacks that will actually curb hunger and give you the energy you need for your day!
When making a snack I try to focus on three things:
These three nutrients are a recipe for success - not only do they keep you fuller for longer, they are powerhouses for energy, anti-inflammation, and digestion. Constructing snacks that prioritize these nutrients are a simple way to support your health from the inside out and actually feel nourished after eating.
First, let’s talk about different sources for these foods and then how we can pair them together to create balanced snacks!
Protein: protein is essential for our muscles, bones, and internal functions like hormones (hint hint why it’s so important for hormonal balance) and enzymes (which are little proteins in the body that help us with things like digestion and metabolism). Protein comes in many sources.
Some plant-based protein sources include:
Nuts and seeds
Soy products (edamame, tofu)
Some animal-based protein sources include:
Healthy Fat: healthy fat, like omega-3’s and omega-6’s, are key for hormonal balance. These types of fat help with inflammation, blood sugar balance, heart health, just to name a few. They are an absolute staple to a well-balanced, hormone friendly lifestyle.
Some great sources of healthy fats include:
Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.)
Seeds (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, etc.)
Olive oil/coconut oil
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines
Fiber: fiber is another nutrient that is great for our blood sugar and heart health, and also is absolutely necessary for optimal gut health. Our gut health is so important to hormonal health (and vice versa), since our microbiome (the world of bacteria in our gut) and hormones (like estrogen) have such a strong connection.
Incorporating fiber-rich foods is a great way to nourish your gut and hormones, which can include:
Seeds (chia, flax, hemp)
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley, farro, bulgur
Now that we have an understanding of these nutrients and where to find them in food, how do we incorporate them into snacks??
These are some of my favorite food-pairings for satisfying snacks that give me energy to tackle my day!
1. Old-fashioned oats, almond butter, chia seeds, a few dark chocolate chips, coconut shreds, honey, cinnamon, and apple cubes
Heat oats with almond butter and honey (both to taste) and add in desired toppings like chocolate chips, fruit, etc.
I love adding cinnamon for some flavor and blood sugar balance benefits
It is like a deconstructed oatmeal cookie and absolutely delicious!
2. Plain greek yogurt, berries, chia seeds, honey, cacao nibs, goji berries
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. I love to add all kinds of different toppings for an extra healthy fat and fiber punch, foods like cacao nibs and goji berries add a different texture and taste!
3. Hummus with veggies and whole grain crackers
Hummus is a great grab-and-go source of protein and healthy fat, and a fun way to add in some of your favorite veggies (mine are currently carrots and cucumbers)
For that salty crunch, I also throw a few whole grain crackers or pita chips on my plate!
4. Popcorn and a handful of trail mix
Popcorn is such a great source of fiber and really satisfies my salty craving! I love to add in some trail mix with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds for that sweet pairing and healthy fat kick!
5. Chia seed pudding
4 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup milk (I love almond or coconut cream)
¼ tsp vanilla
Dash of cinnamon
Sweetener of choice to taste
Let sit in fridge overnight and top with desired toppings (peanut butter, coconut, berries, pears, mango, chocolate chips, hemp seeds)
This pudding is so easy to meal prep and have on hand for those days that you are on the go. It is a great source of healthy fat and fiber that will keep you full and energized.
Happy Eating! - Emily LaBombard, MPH, RDN, LDN