You know that feeling, between lunch and dinner when your stomach starts to growl? You don’t have time to take a break to make a snack, so you decide that it’s okay to wait until dinnertime to eat. But hour by hour, it gets worse. You start feeling grouchy and your head starts to ache. Finally, you give in — it’s time to eat. You want to pick a healthy snack but don’t have the energy to put something together, so you grab something convenient: chips, crackers, cookies, or candy. But even after eating a snack, you still feel hungry.
Does this story sound familiar? Or, maybe, you want to enjoy a snack while watching a movie, so you grab a bag of chips. Before you know it, the bag is gone! It’s reasons like these why snacking can be seen as a “bad thing.” People often snack on foods with low nutritional value because they wait too long to eat and end up grabbing whatever is convenient, or they mindlessly snack while their attention is on something else.
But guess what? Snacking can be one of the best things you can do for yourself. When you start feeling hungry, your blood sugar has started to drop. You start feeling an emptiness in your stomach, you get a headache, you have trouble focusing, and maybe you even become randomly upset at your spouse or coworker for absolutely no reason. We’re all guilty of it. But the solution is simple: have a snack.
This will help your body rebalance its blood sugar levels, regain energy and focus, and maintain peace with your family and friends.
How to Snack
When choosing a snack, you want it to be both satisfying and balanced with macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) and fiber. Carbohydrates are the body’s number one fuel source. Aim to eat primarily complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread, oats, or potatoes, because they are a more stable source of energy. Protein includes foods like meat, eggs, or beans; fat includes foods like olive oil, avocado, or nuts; and fiber can be found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Protein, fat, and fiber all slow the absorption of your snack or meal, which aids in stabilizing your blood sugars. This helps you keep your mood and energy up and avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes. One of my favorite balanced snack combinations is yogurt (protein), granola with nuts or seeds (carbohydrates and fat), and berries (fiber).
What to Snack On
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, I get it. Snacking is important, but what are some healthy snacks I can eat?” Great question! This Mini PB & J Power Cakes recipe is a shockingly easy, quick, and delightful snack recipe using Kodiak Cakes Peanut Butter Power Cakes.
Mini PB&J Power Cakes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Yields: 10-12 mini pancakes
- 1 cup Kodiak Cakes Peanut Butter Power Cakes
- 1 cup water for mixing
- 3-4 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 cup raspberries
- Butter or coconut oil for greasing
- Mix 1 cup Kodiak Cakes Peanut Butter Power Cakes with ~1 cup of water.
- Grease and heat skillet over medium heat (I recommend butter or coconut oil for flavor).
- Fill about half of ¼ cup measuring cup with batter and pour onto hot pan.
- Once mini pancakes start bubbling on top, flip them and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- When finished making all of the mini pancakes, top each with approximately 1 teaspoon peanut butter.
- Add a few berries over the peanut butter and smash them with a fork to make "jelly".
- Last and most important, ENJOY your easy, nutritious snack!
This snack is a perfect balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber without much added sugar. Kodiak Cakes are a great source of carbohydrates and protein, peanut butter adds some healthy fat to the mix, and mashed raspberries are a great source of fiber. The mashed berries also help give this snack a natural sweetness without the addition of added sugar like you find in most jellies. These mini cakes are the perfect snack to satisfy those afternoon hunger pangs!
Start to be mindful of your body’s hunger cues so you know when it’s time to eat a nutritious, well-balanced snack. Try to catch them earlier rather than later to prevent any “hangry” attitude, too. I’ve discovered that I need a snack when I start to get that empty stomach feeling and slight dizziness. Once you can recognize your hunger cues, start testing out different combinations of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber. You don’t have to fit in every category with every snack, but work to find the combinations that you enjoy most, satiate your hunger, and help you feel your best. And don’t forget, snacking is one of the best things you can do for your body when you do it right!
About the Author
Alayna Horvath is a young, progressive Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. She has been dedicated to helping others with nutrition and their health after her father’s passing from colon cancer as a child. Alayna has spent most of her life studying nutrition and sharing her perspective on social media. She loves seeing the world, building close relationships, exploring farms and gardens, trying new foods, and living a fulfilling life. Alayna currently offers one-on-one Nutrition Counseling to help create individualized action plans. Find her on Instagram at @alaynaflan.
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