Even if you’re watching what you eat, it’s hard to quit snacking cold turkey. Whether it’s mid-morning or mid-afternoon, you know your stomach won’t be able to make it to the next meal without a little bite in between. It’s okay to have something small before your next meal—just be mindful of what it is. Your snack may be small, but the caloric count could be big … unless you snack smart.

On top of controlling calories, snacking smart also means you need food that satisfies your hunger and provides high-quality nutrients.  If you know what to look for, not only will you soon be kissing those potato chips goodbye, you’ll also have more energy and even lose a few extra pounds!

Fiber Filled Snacks

When your stomach starts to grumble mid-morning, as much as you’ll want to eat lunch at 10:30 a.m., grab a snack full of fiber instead. Fiber is a nutrient that helps keep you full by slowing down digestion. Foods like legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all packed with fiber. Consider these fiber-filled, smart snacks:

  • Microwavable popcorn – light varieties that are low in saturated fat
  • A packet of instant oatmeal
  • A piece of fresh fruit or cup of berries
  • Cut vegetables dipped in plain Greek yogurt or guacamole

Fat-Filled Snacks

You know that dreaded word: fat. It doesn’t always have to have that negative connotation! Fat is actually an essential nutrient that should account for 20-30% of your calorie intake. But make sure you’re choosing the healthy kinds of fats, like ones that come from plant sources – like olives, avocados and nuts. These fats add satiety to your food without clogging your arteries. Just keep an eye on your portion size, because fat calories tend to add up fast! Try these fat-filled snacks:

  • Nut butters (i.e. peanut butter, almond butter, etc.). Spread it on whole-wheat crackers, apple slices or celery sticks.
  • Olives
  • Homemade trail mix – mix two tablespoons of mixed nuts with a quarter-cup dried fruit

Protein-Filled Snacks

Proteins take longer for the body to take in and digest, keeping you fuller longer! Whether it’s from a plant or animal source, there’s always room for protein. The snacks listed below are packed with protein:

  • Boiled eggs
  • A yogurt smoothie
  • A banana accompanied with a glass of milk
  • Half of a turkey or chicken sandwich
  • Spread white tuna on wheat crackers

So next time you think about grabbing that cookie or bag of potato chips, think again. Try to keep these nutritious snacks in mind instead, and you’ll be snacking smart in no time!

For more smart snack ideas, check out SheKnows today.