We all like junk at times and some people see junk food and snacking as habits to be avoided. True, excessively snacking on calorie-dense food can be detrimental to those trying to keep inches off of their waist. However, you may be surprised to hear that eating throughout the day is actually a powerful tool to prevent weight gain. Sensible snacking helps to keep your hunger hormone ghrelin in check. So, serial snackers, try this better junk to both indulge in and keep your hunger at bay throughout the day:
1. Popcorn – You may be one of those people who thinks this classic cruncher is unhealthy. Not so! While the popcorn you find in the movie theaters with tons of added salt and oil may not be the best, your typical microwave popcorn isn’t half bad, especially if you can find the lite versions. Or popped your own with a air popper and drizzle your favorite oil and sea salt. What’s more, popcorn is a good source of fiber to keep you feeling full until your next meal.
2. Veggie Chips – Who says that potatoes are the only chips that can be tastry? You can buy veggie chips premade or, better yet, make your own! Plantains, zucchini, butternut squash — you name it! They can all be made into superfoods chips you can chow down on between meals. For homemade chips, just slice your veggies thin, place on a baking sheet and spray lightly with canola oil spray, sprinkle some salt and bake. You get all of the satisfying crunch without the guilt.
3. Dried fruit – If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is the perfect snack for you. There’s a lot of different types out there, so be sure to find some without the added sugar coatings and it’s recommended to choose fruits that comes in big pieces such as mangos, prunes or apricots to name a couple. Snacking on big pieces of fruit helps you to keep track of how much you are consuming rather than mindlessly grabbing handfuls. Even when snacking, portion control still matters!
4. Rice Crackers – Popular in Japan, this snack is gaining steam as a mainstream snack. Typically made from just rice, oil and salt, this is a snack that’s minimally processed and low in fat. What’s more, it’s a diverse snack that you can take to the next level by pairing it with something like your favorite light cheese spread. Just remember, about 16 crackers is a serving.
5. Baked Sweet Potato “Fries” – Coat some slice sweet potatoes lightly with canola oil and get creative with some spices such as cumin and chili powder, or even just salt, and bake away! That’s right, you don’t actually have to fry anything to make delicious fries and the dry heat from an oven brings out the natural sweetness to blend deliciously with the salty in homemade sweet potato fries.
The Flat Belly 365 philosophy recommends 80% clean eating and 20% junk, but that doesn’t mean all of this “superfood junk” above is off the table. In fact, it’s even better. Nobody is 100% perfect. We all deserve some indulgence and should live our lives and indulge every once in a while.