Snacking is something we all do, and contrary to popular belief, it is actually an important part of our diet. We need to keep our metabolism humming throughout the day so we don’t dive into a meal at our hungriest and end up overeating or making a choice we wouldn’t have if we were only appropriately hungry.
Unfortunately most of the snacks most college students reach for are not the kind that keeps our metabolism humming. These snacks like soda and candy often are full of refined sugar or loaded with saturated fat which can spike blood sugar causing a crash a few minutes later or cause one to feel lethargic and tired.
Choosing the right snack more often than choosing the less ideal snack can actually keep you more focused, give you more energy, and prevent energy crashes.
What are these “right snacks” you ask? Choosing a snack with a bit of carbohydrate, fat, and protein that offers some beneficial nutrition. Great sources of carbohydrate are whole grain crackers, whole wheat bread or a piece of fruit. Healthy fats can be found in avocado, low fat cheese, nuts and nut butters. Great protein foods are lean meat like turkey, a hard-boiled egg, or a glass of milk.
Some foods are a two-in-one and are easy to grab and go along with the missing component. Some of the best two-in-ones are low fat string cheese and yogurt. Low fat string cheese provides both protein and fat so pairing a whole grain cracker with it is the perfect snack. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates. Adding some natural peanut butter is an easy way to mix up a complete snack.
When choosing a yogurt, the protein content should be higher than the sugar content. Some yogurts offer little protein and so much sugar that a candy bar might as well be consumed instead. Great options are plain Greek style yogurts. When looking into the flavored options, the Chobani brand options will have more sugar than protein.
Most individuals prefer flavored options, choosing one with a high source of protein to prevent sugar crashes is imperative when choosing a balanced snack.
Shop and prepare ahead to have healthy snack options in your backpack to prevent reaching for those less ideal snacks to keep you as your best self!