Super Snack Makeovers! Nutritiongal Volume 17

Are you sick and tired of crashing in the afternoon? Is the vending machine pulling you into an abyss of processed, sodium laden junk?  Do you fall asleep in the afternoon even if your have a stimulating profession or at least are not bored?

Why is it important to eat “healthy” snacks?  Why don’t candy bars, chips and soda cut it when it comes to refueling in the afternoon? They may temporarily fill you up but they are devoid of nutrients and filled with empty calories.  Consuming soda and candy temporarily raises your blood sugar only to have it crash shortly thereafter, making you hungrier.  For more on foods that raise blood sugar (have a higher glycemic load) check out the chart in the below link.

Now that you know that chips, soda and candy aren’t the best options what is left to eat when your itching for a little snack?  Time for some snack makeovers!

1.) Potato Chips/Pretzels – Potato chips are highly processed and loaded with fat and salt.  Although pretzels have a lower fat content they are still loaded with sodium and raise blood sugar since they are simple carbohydrates.

Makeover – Whole grain crackers or brown rice cakes. Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains which fortify the body with B vitamins and make you feel fuller for longer.  Add some peanut butter, tzatziki sauce or organic cheese to your snack for a tasty treat.

2.) Candy & Protein bars – Don’t believe the hype!  Snickers doesn’t satisfy you.  Sorry Betty White! We still love you… When you consume candy bars you are eating sugar, trans fats and fillers that are not easily processed by the body.  Protein bars may seem like a “healthier” option but they are just candy bars with added protein.  Even if some of them have less calories and sugar, read the ingredients.  Many of them have artificial flavors, fillers and (GASP!) high fructose corn syrup!  Check out the link below for why high fructose corn syrup is making people fat.

Makeover – Granola/Toasted Muesli Bars – Look for the varieties with whole grains and the least amount of ingredients.  They are a delicious, sweet and fiber rich alternative to candy bars without all the sugar.  Some granola bars have chocolate or cocoa nibs in them if you’re craving something chocolatey.

3.) Candy/Lollies – For obvious reasons candy is not a health food. It’s fun to indulge once in a while but it doesn’t make a satisfying afternoon snack.  Candy may give you quick energy but you will crash like an engine that has run out of the wrong kind of fuel.

Makeover – Fresh or dried fruit is a wonderful alternative. You still get the intense sweetness without processed sugar and tons of vitamins.  Why not make your own trail mix of raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, cashews and cocoa nibs for a satisfying treat?

4.) Frappuccino – At almost 700 calories per serving this intensely sweet and caffeinated drink is better off as an occasional treat rather than your afternoon staple. What do you do when you want something cold and creamy?

Makeover – Try an iced vanilla latte instead or an iced coffee without the sugar if you dare.  You can also try mixing some instant coffee in vanilla yogurt for that creamy coffee taste.

For more healthy snack options check out the below link from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Happy snacking!


The Nutritiongal
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“I am currently enrolled at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition and will graduate as a certified health counselor in 2010. Fire the diet police and take back your health!”

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A rainbow of healthy snacks