When we’re tired, hungry, or otherwise run-down, it’s tempting to reach for something that may not be the best for our bodies. The next time you feel a snack attack coming on, try these simpler—and healthier—alternatives:
Snack: Candy bars, gummies, and other sweets Alternative: Oatmeal, yogurt, honey, and fresh fruit
Our bodies often crave sugar when we’re tired because it gives immediate energy, but what invariably follows is reactive hypoglycemia, better known as a “sugar crash.”
When you eat a large amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates, the glucose in your blood rises abnormally quickly. This initiates a rapid secretion of insulin, which causes the reuptake of glucose. When your blood glucose falls as quickly as it rose, you’re left feeling lethargic and irritable.
Unlike the simple carbohydrates found in candy and other sweets, complex carbs don’t lead to a hypoglycemia. When you’re craving something sweet, try plain yogurt mixed with oats, honey, and fresh fruit. The BlenderBottle GoStak is perfect for pre-packing your yogurt toppings, making the quick treat even easier than hitting the vending machine.
Snack: Protein bars, granola bars, and cereal bars Alternative: Nut butters, apples, celery, and whole-grain breads
Nutrition bars are often marketed as healthy alternatives to full meals, but they’re also loaded with processed sugars . For example, every variety of the popular Clif Bar has at least 20 grams of sugar.
Instead of a bar, try organic nut butter spread on apple slices, celery sticks, or a slice of whole-grain bread, or add it to your protein shakes with the BlenderBottle Classic. Cashew, peanut, walnut, and sunflower butters have as much protein as your average nutrition bar, but much less sugar. Nuts and seeds are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help to reduce cholesterol and improve heart health, while apples, celery, and whole grains are high in fiber.
Snack: Potato chips and snack mixes Alternative: Popcorn and apple chips
Potato chips and snack mixes are generally fried in generous amounts of oil and then heavily salted, which leaves you with a food that is high in saturated fat and sodium.
Popcorn made with a little oil and salt is a much healthier option. Not only is it a whole grain, but it also contains an antioxidant called polyphenol, which is linked to better cardiovascular health. Popcorn sold in microwaveable bags contains harmful chemicals, so it is best to buy kernels on their own and pop them in a hot air popper or a brown paper bag in the microwave.
Alternatively, you can make your own low-calorie, non-fat chips with apple slices. Use a mandolin slicer to cut two or three apples into thin pieces, arrange them side-by-side on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake in the oven at 225 degrees. After one hour, flip them over and bake for another hour, or until crisped. Turn the oven off and leave the apples inside until they are completely cool.
Snack: Soda, energy drinks, and fruit juice Alternative: Water, always.
The average soda or energy drink has anywhere from 20 to 60 grams of sugar per serving, not to mention a number of harmful chemicals, like aspartame and phosphoric acid. Fruit juice isn’t nearly as unhealthy, but it is still full of sugar.
Instead, have a glass of water. If water alone doesn’t appeal to you, add lemon slices or make an iced tea with honey as a sweetener.
When you are well hydrated, you are less likely to indulge in sugary drinks. The ounce and milliliter markings on any BlenderBottle can help you track water intake during the day.
Unprocessed foods are almost always better for your body because they are more nutritious and easier to digest. When you’re craving something salty, sweet, fatty, or crunchy, choose the least processed option and protect your health.