Many people may hear the word “snack” and immediately think of some unhealthy, processed food they could easily find on grocery shelves. While it’s true that most popular snacks aren’t very good for you, though they’re fine in moderation, there are exceptions.
With so many options available, there’s no shortage of healthy snack choices on the shelves at grocery stores. The biggest thing is to know where to look— to know what’s healthy as opposed to unhealthy and how exactly to find it among the chaos.
Here is why snacking healthy is so important, and some ideas for healthy packaged snacks that you can use to fill up the shelves of your pantry.
The word “snack” is a very loose term that can pretty much refer to any food not consumed for one of the three main meals— breakfast, lunch, or dinner. A snack should be something ready to eat and easily put into a backpack or purse when you’re on the move.
Choosing to have several snacks throughout the day instead of simply eating these larger meals throughout the day can have a lot of health benefits, especially if you carefully consider which snacks you choose.
Healthy snacks should be made from natural ingredients, so avoid ones with artificial colors and flavorings. You’ll also want to stick to foods that are low in sugar, and keep your eyes on the ingredients list— if it’s long and full of words you don’t know or understand, that might mean it’s processed.
As long as the snack is good for you, you’ll be able to cash in on a lot of great benefits. Eating small portions frequently throughout the day instead of a few large portions helps your metabolism, since the pauses between times you eat are shorter.
With your metabolic rate increased, you will burn calories faster. So, in this way, snacking can actually help people lose weight instead of gain it, as long as they’re careful about what snacks they choose.
Food also acts as a provider of fuel and nutrients for our bodies. Having snacks between meals makes it more difficult for your body to run out of energy, and can boost your blood glucose levels. It’s a great idea if several hours pass between your meals. However, if those snacks are unhealthy or full of sugar they can confuse your body.
It’s not just about the energy boost, you should also consider what minerals, proteins, and healthy fats go into your snacks so that you can use them to balance your diet.
Snacks are also a great way to settle some of those more persistent cravings, or even stop the craving before it sets in! By having snacks between meals before your body gets really hungry again, you may help stave off unhealthy temptations and prevent yourself from overeating during meals.
Eating healthy snacks is also a great solution for those who might not have a very large appetite, since they still need to get their nutrients somehow.
However, eating frequent snacks also has its downsides, which are important to note, since not everyone who loves snacking is eating healthy.
In the 2020 Food & Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council, it was found that 40% of Americans will occasionally replace meals with a snack. This study also found that snacks made up around 27% of children’s calorie intake. Neither of these practices are exactly healthy.
It’s also important to note that if people snack too frequently or in too large portion sizes it can contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. In addition, as shown above, while snacks are great to curb your appetite between meals, they can in some cases make you lose your appetite for a meal, which typically contain more nutrients than the snacks themselves.
Unhealthy snacks can be fine in moderation, of course, but if people consume processed snacks with high sugar or salt counts too often, they can develop a strong preference for them and have less of an interest in healthier foods.
Luckily, there are a lot of healthy snacks out there, and ones that taste amazing, too. It’s just important to know where to look, as well as what types of snacks to avoid.
When you hear the words “unhealthy food,” what do you think of first? Fast foods and junk foods, aka unhealthy snacks, are lacking when it comes to nutrients because they are both highly processed.
In addition, the refined flour, sodium, and added sugars present in a lot of these foods make them high on empty calories that aren’t doing anything good for your body.
These are ingredients you should definitely keep an eye on, whether you’re ordering out or at the grocery store. Saturated and trans fats are also important to note and avoid when possible.
When you do eat processed foods, choose carefully and stick to small amounts in order to be as healthy about it as possible. You should also always read the labels of your food, whether you believe what you’re purchasing to be healthy or not, just in case there’s any super unhealthy ingredients you’ll want to avoid.
Here are some specific unhealthy snacks to look out for when you’re doing your grocery shopping.
Cookies, donuts, and chocolate bars are all very sweet snacks that always contain a lot of sugar and can be very unhealthy depending on the brand you choose to go with. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you may want to try something with a natural sweetener instead. A lot of pastry snacks, puddings, and nutella are also not very good for you.
And speaking of sweet, trail mix is often regarded as healthy but a lot of the ones you can find at the grocery store? Not so much. See, ordinarily trail mix is salty, but now you might find some that include candy as part of the snack.
On the savory side of things are salt and vinegar chips, certain kinds of salty crackers, pretzel pieces, and many more snacks that would be super easy to eat are better left on the shelves of your grocery store due to how bad they are for you.
There’s a lot of really unhealthy options available, but as long as you’re aware of that and are careful, you can snack healthily. After all, as we’ve established, there are a lot of upsides to snacking regularly as long as you make the right snack choices.
By planning ahead and preparing more healthy snacks for yourself, as well as avoiding skipping meals, you can make sure you stick to snacks that are good for you. A great way to snack healthy is to make them at home, but there are also a good bit of healthy packaged snacks out there that are less hassle to just grab and go with.
Packaged snacks are great to have around when you’re in a pinch for time, are going somewhere for a while, or when you don’t feel like cooking. More and more healthy and accommodating snack options hit the shelves every day, and you can likely find some great ones by paying attention to the ingredients of what you purchase.
To save you some time, however, here are some great options for healthy packaged snacks that you may want to look out for next time you’re at the supermarket.
Nuts, for starters, are a great source of protein that are incredibly convenient to eat. Pistachios, cashews, and almonds all make great (and great-tasting) snacks that are super good for you.
A lot of people turn to snacks for salty cravings, but luckily there are a lot of salty snacks besides nuts that are healthy, such as pink salt popcorn, parm crisps, sea salt chickpeas and pretzels, beef thins, whole wheat pita chips, and beef thins. Even beef jerky is considered a healthy snack, depending on what brand you go with.
Protein chips are also a great choice so that your body can get the nutrients it needs, and protein bars, too— the latter especially for its convenience and for the number of options available.
For those who want more sweet things for healthy packaged snacks, packaged dried apricots, brown rice cakes, granola, pre-made smoothie bowls, organic fruit snacks, and snickerdoodle stroopwafels are all options available to you. Going back to the nuts as a great choice, some stores even sell cocoa covered almonds.
There’s so many more healthy snacks to choose from, and more than we could possibly list here, but hopefully at least one or two of those items caught your eye as something to put on a future shopping list.
If you’re overwhelmed by all of the options, however, and don’t want to spend ages in a grocery store figuring out what specific snack you want to buy, we have a suggestion for you to take into consideration.
Simple Botanics Simple Squares, which have recently returned to our website with two entirely new flavors to choose from, are the perfect healthy packaged snack. Back and better than ever, these squares are very similar to nutrition and protein bars you may find at the supermarket for how easy they are to grab and eat when you’re on the move.
You can buy a box of 12 individually packaged Simple Squares for $23.99 on our website in either the Honey Nut or Honey Nut Chocolate Chip flavor. Each individual bar of both flavors is only 190 calories. They’re a great go-to snack between meals.
Both flavors are made from entirely natural ingredients; they contain cashews and almonds, and derive their sweetness from honey for many added health benefits and a great, sweet flavor.
Our Simple Squares are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and refined sugar free as well as non-GMO, so they’re perfect for those with dietary restrictions and for anyone who wants to incorporate more healthy packaged snacks into their pantry.
If you want to start eating healthier, replacing some of the processed snacks and junk foods in your cabinets with alternatives that are better for you is a great way to do it, and to also encourage the same switch among others in your house.
Consider trying out some of these healthy packaged snacks, including our Simple Squares, because snacking in general can be very good for you if you do it right.