Snacking is something just about everyone does. It’s hard to resist the urge to grab some snacks, especially during the summer when you are having fun and on the run. The problem is that many people grab the wrong types of snacks, which may work against their desire to be fit and fabulous. Far too often, people reach for sugary snacks, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can lead to health problems such as weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. For those who want to be fit and fabulous this summer, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the snack choices they make.
“It’s so easy to eat far too many calories simply because we are grabbing the wrong snacks,” explains Coach Sarah Walls, personal trainer and owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc., who is also the strength and conditioning coach for WNBA’s Washington Mystics. “It’s important to have healthy snacks on hand at all times and know what to reach for when you do go shopping or you are in a hurry. It may take only a minute to eat it, but done too often it can have lasting consequences.”
According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, snacks for those who are not very active should be no more than 200 calories. For those who are active, they recommend not going over snacks that are 200-300 calories. They also recommend only snacking when you are hungry and sticking to recommended portion sizes. It’s also important to keep the added sugar in check, considering that the Harvard School of Public Health reports the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is around an extra 350 calories.
Keeping this in mind, here are 6 super summer snacks for those who want to be fit and fabulous:
- Chia seed pudding – Chia are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Use the attached recipe to create a simple chia seed pudding that is nutritious and delicious.
- Homemade fruit popsicles – Use an online recipe to make some healthy homemade fruit and veggie popsicles. They will be great on a hot summer day and will give you a fruit serving.
- Yogurt –Opt for varieties that don’t have a lot of sugar. This will give you a boost in healthy bacteria, protein, and calcium.
- Apple with peanut butter – An apple dipped in one teaspoon of natural peanut butter or other nut butter is a healthy snack that will give you protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
- Melons – Summer is melon season and you can’t go wrong with loading up on watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. They are loaded with vitamins and are refreshing.
- Avocado toast – Using whole wheat toast, spread a half of an avocado on it. That will give you some fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and healthy fats.
“Don’t deny yourself the ability to have some snacks this summer, just be sure to reach for healthier options,” added Coach Walls. “Whether you are an athlete or you just want to feel better and look great, keeping healthier snack options in mind will go a long way toward helping you to reach those goals.”
Chia Seed Pudding Recipe
This chia seed recipe takes just 10 minutes to make and yields two cups of pudding.
- 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 6 tablespoons of chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of sweetener (honey or maple syrup), optional
- Berries for topping
Mix all ingredients together except for the berries. Stir to make sure there are no clumps of chia seeds. Put it in the refrigerator to set for at least two hours. Top with the berries and enjoy!
Sarah Walls has over 15 years experience in coaching and personal training. Owner of SAPT Strength & Performance Training, Inc, founded in 2007, she offers coaching to develop athletes, adult programs, team training, online coaching, and more. She is also the strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and has over eight years of experience working as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. To learn more, visit the site: www.saptstrength.com.