When it comes to eating clean, snacks might be your biggest pitfall. It's easy to reach for a convenient packaged food for snacking but clean-eating snacks should be, well, cleaner. Clean-eating snacks should be made from healthy whole foods like fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. While you can find clean packaged snack foods, you'll want to read the ingredient list to make sure it's short and simple and that there's not a lot of added sugar lurking (if any). Making your own snacks allows you to control the ingredients so you know exactly what you're getting. To prevent snacking boredom here are 5 healthy snacking tips to help you eat clean.
1. Pair Fruit with Protein
Apple slices deliver fiber to help fill you up so you're not ravenous at your next meal. Apples also help you fill your fruit quota—most of us don't get the daily recommended 1 1/2-2 cups of fruits. Adding protein, in this case cheese, makes the snack even more satisfying. In this case, spicy jalapenos may help rev your metabolism thanks to the compound capsaicin. Other clean-eating fruit and protein combos to try: pear and brie, clementines and almonds, or berries with Greek yogurt.
2. Keep it Simple
Cleaning up your snacks is a good time to reach for more whole foods and keep things simple. Think sliced veggies like peppers or carrots, fresh fruit, or nuts. Clean snacks might just be a few real food ingredients. That doesn't mean your snacks have to be boring though. Satisfy your need for crunchy chips with these 3-ingredient baked sweet potato chips that also happen to be incredibly delicious and kid-friendly.
3. Make it Yourself
When you're eating clean try making super-simple homemade versions of your favorite packaged snacks. Make your own trail mix with nuts and dried fruit and skip store-bought versions with more chocolate candies than fruit. Instead of buying energy bars—which can have tons of complicated ingredients and loads of added sugar—make your own homemade energy balls. These combine dried fruit, whole-grain oats with peanut butter to keep you fueled up.
4. Eat More Whole Foods
Maybe you always associate guacamole with chips—but who's to say you can't dip in with mini bell peppers? If you love peanut butter and jelly flavor but don't want the added sugar in jelly mix peanuts with fresh or dried fruit for a twist on the sweet and salty flavors of PB & J. Instead of thinking about what you can't have when you're eating clean, think about all the delicious and healthy foods you can enjoy and get creative.
5. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, Naturally of Course
Eating clean means seriously cutting down on your added sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends we get no more than 10% of our calories daily from added sugar, which is only about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men daily. That may sound like a lot, but eat a few servings of cereals, salad dressings, sauces or breads and you may be maxed out. That's not even counting the really sweet stuff—dessert! So reach for naturally sweet fruits to satisfy your craving instead.