More people are snacking rather than sitting down to the table for traditional meals. But that means you need to make those snacks count by filling them with healthy components of whole plants.
We are snacking now more than ever! That gnosh in front of the laptop, nibble on the way home from work, trip to the vending machine, and afternoon smoothie fix is the new normal for eating. In fact, we are truly bucking the old idea of “3 square meals a day,” and instead, eating according to a pattern that suits us best. It doesn’t hurt that food is available 24/7 just about everywhere. Every manner of store now sells food, from hardware shops to bookstores—making it easier to snack on the run. People turn to snacks to power up their daily routines, as well as tame hunger pangs. All of these snacking occasions mean fewer meals eaten at the dining room table. These changes in eating behavior have marched along as households have changed through the generations—households are having fewer children, increasing the number of bread-winners, and decreasing the amount of time available to prepare large, family-style meals. Thus, snacks have really turned into mini-meals.
So, with our new snacking behavior, how can we make the most of our eating style? One thing is for sure—if snacks are taking place of meals, then they need to pack in nutrients throughout the day. They should be more than just bites to fill they belly—snacks should be purposeful. But they should also meet your needs for convenience, taste, and quality. And for plant-based eaters, the same standards hold true.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Mix
5 Plant-Based Snacking Strategies
Here are 5 plant-based snacking strategies to keep you feeling full, focused and energetic.
Chickpea Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Hummus
1. Fiber is Your Friend. A plant-based eater knows the importance of snacking for both nutrition and satisfaction. Fiber is a team-player in both departments, as it’s been shown to both lower cholesterol levels and improve gut health, as well as slow down digestion to satiate your appetite. So make sure your snacks are rich in fiber. If you’re looking for fiber in plant-based snacks think of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and even beans! Try roasting chickpeas in olive oil and spices as a great fiber and protein-rich snack for home and on-the-go. Start with the recipe from Plant-Powered for Life for your next batch.
Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding with Strawberries
2. Find the Right time to Snack. Snacking looks and feels different to almost everyone; some people prefer a snack at 10 am between breakfast and lunch, while others enjoy a bite every couple of hours between meals to tide them over. However, it’s important to get in touch with your hunger cues and really ask yourself if you are truly physically hungry before you dive into snacking. Does your stomach feel empty? Do you feel a little low on energy? Or are you just bored and in need of a break? When is my next meal coming? It’s not an ideal time to snack an hour before mealtime or bedtime. So, be strategic with your timing. Once you have determined that it is the right time for a snack, go ahead and optimize your plant-based snacking to fit your energy needs.
Berry Quinoa Power Bowl
3. Make Snacks about Variety and Quality. For plant-based eaters, getting variety and quality from snacks and meals is integral to maintaining good health status. You know each food group—plant proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats—has its own part to play in providing your body with nutrients it needs to function at its best. When it comes to snacking it’s no different! Even if you were to only eat apples and peanut butter for your snack each day, a seemingly healthy and well-balanced snack, you might miss out on opportunities to gain other nutrients from an array of foods, such as vitamin C from oranges, calcium from green vegetables, and fiber and protein from nut and seed crackers with hummus. There is a reason that “variety is the spice of life”—without it you truly do miss out on the full-experience! And as snacks make up a greater part of your daily diet, it’s even more critical that they provide important servings of all of the plant-based food groups. So, make sure that each snack provides at least 2 servings of the whole plant food groups (plant proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats).
Vegan Blueberry Millet Muffins
4. Size Your Snacks. The line between snacking and mealtimes is increasingly blurred. So, it’s important to determine if your snack is taking the place of a meal, or just sustaining energy levels between mealtimes. If it’s more of the latter—a snack to boost energy between meals—remember to keep portions in line with your needs. It can be easy to take in hundreds of calories in a smoothie, sandwich, muffin, or even nutrition bar just a couple of hours before you sit down to a substantial meal. This can lead to excess energy intake and weight gain. In order to avoid over-snacking, a good tool to use is your very own hand! Servings of nut butters should be close to the size of the tip of your thumb or 1 tbsp. A small palm-full of nuts, or a hand-sized piece of fruit is a standard serving.
Matcha Tea Smoothie Bowl
5. Sip Your Snacks Wisely. If you prefer to sip your snacks, there’s a smoothie recipe for that! Smoothies can be quick and easy ways to add extra fruit, vegetables, protein, fiber and extra water into your diet. You can even enjoy smoothies in a bowl with toppings! Just make sure your smoothies are free of added sugars and packed with whole plant foods. Give this Matcha Tea Smoothie Bowl a go if you’re feeling trendy, or if you’re looking to get more greens in during the day this “How-to” on building green smoothies may be just right for you!
Image: Green Pea Hummus, Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
Add at bottom, for more tips on healthful plant-based eating, check out the following blogs:
Top 15 Tips for Powering Up on Vegetables
9 Tips for Plant-Based Eating on a Budget
Eating a Plant-Based and Gluten-Free Diet with Confidence
5 Plant-Based Foods to Include in Your Diet
By: Sharon Palmer
Title: 5 Plant-Based Snacking Strategies
Sourced From: sharonpalmer.com/5-plant-based-snacking-strategies/
Published Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2022 08:00:52 +0000
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