It happens to all of us. That mid-day snack hankering where we just need something to hold us over between lunch and dinner. But so often the snacks we reach for don’t fill us up, are not nutritious and are loaded with calories. Instead, it isn’t about skipping the snack altogether (which can lead to overeating later), but it’s about finding the right snack to eat that won’t set you back and will leave you satisfied until mealtime.
That’s where fiber comes in. Adding a fiber-rich snack to your diet can help curb cravings, fill you up and keep you regular. And frankly, Americans eat way too little of it. The National Fiber Council recommends getting 32 grams of fiber per day for a healthy adult, whereas the typical American only gets 10-15 grams per day. This lack of fiber can lead to poor digestive health, cardiovascular disease, weight gain and poor blood sugar control. Alternatively, the National Fiber Council cites that maintaining a diet high in fiber can lower blood cholesterol, prevent heart disease, diminish bloat, cravings and manage weight.
So how do you make the switch from sugar, calorie and fat-filled foods that leave you wanting more to nutrient dense, fiber-filled foods that will keep you satisfied? Here are 5 of our favorite snack swaps.
- If you crave something crunchy and typically reach for a bag of potato chips, try popcorn.
Popcorn is an incredibly low calorie snack that’s perfect to munch on and it’s high in fiber. If you’re at home, you can make it in a popcorn popper and add your favorite spices (we recommend skipping the microwave bags as they are often filled with chemicals) or if you’re at the office, take a single-size bag from your favorite brand. There are so many good options out there today, just be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure it only has a few ingredients.
- If you can’t stay away from the office donuts, try fruit instead.
I know, I know, an orange compared to a donut isn’t the best comparison, but you can get creative with delicious fruits that will actually satisfy your sweet tooth. Bananas, kiwis, frozen grapes, blueberries or blackberries… all of these fruits contain natural sugars but are also accompanied by fiber so your blood sugar won’t spike.
- If you crave something sweet and typically reach for a vending machine candy bar, try a Fiber One bar.
In a perfect world, you’d make your own energy bar, but let’s face it, life is crazy and you don’t need to be. As per the name, Fiber One bars are loaded with fiber to keep you full and help maintain good digestion. Plus, they’re new Layered Chewy Bars, available in two flavors: Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate and Double Chocolate Almond are completely decadent making you think you’re eating that typical candy bar but with way less sugar and with the added benefit fiber provides to overall digestive health. Each bar contains 28% of your daily fiber needs without any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.
- If you are addicted to sweetened beverages and typically grab a soda, try sparkling water with fruit.
If you’re a soda addict, you know who you are, it can be a hard habit to kick. But one of the most effective ways I’ve seen people do it is by instead drinking flavored sparkling water infused with fruit. You still get the fizz and the flavor, but you’re not filling yourself up with chemicals, artificial colors and sugar. And if you’re increasing the amount of fiber in your day, drinking enough water is key to keeping you feeling comfortable. Plus, so often when we think we’re hungry, our body is actually telling us that we’re thirsty!
- If you’re looking for a boost in energy and typically reach for that decadent coffee drink with sugary syrups and extra whip cream, try a smoothie.
A medium caramel frappucino coffee drink from your favorite coffee shop has right around 66grams of sugar. WHOA! That’s nearly triple the amount of sugar recommended for adult women per day. But what many people are looking for when they reach for these caffeinated, sugary beverages is a little boost of energy and something creamy to satisfy them. Instead, opt for a smoothie that you can load with fiber-rich fruits and energy-boosting ingredients like chia seeds, nuts and leafy greens that also give you a nice fiber boost.
With these easy and healthy snacking swaps, you’ll be equipping your body with better nutrients to keep it satisfied and happy. It all comes down to snacking smarter.