6 Smarter Snacking Strategies for Healthier Eating on the Road
We recently came across an article from MyFitnessPal that offers several smart snacking strategies for a better diet in order to maintain a healthy weight as well as links to recipes, tips and meal suggestions that we felt worthy of sharing to our fellow truckers who find it challenging to eat healthy while on the road.
Snacking is sometimes a bad word, but that’s only if you’re munching on sugary, carb-heavy foods throughout the day (ie: mini muffins). Smart snacking, on the other hand, can help you control your cravings, fill up on important nutrients and maintain your energy levels. Try these five strategies to help you crush your cravings.
1. DETERMINE IF YOU’RE ACTUALLY HUNGRY
Before you head to the snack shelf on autopilot, it’s important to figure out whether you’re really hungry or just, say, craving sugar because you saw a recipe for Oreo brownies on Facebook. Instead, ask yourself whether you’d be willing to eat a piece of fruit or some sliced veggies to curb your hunger.
If you are not actually hungry, but just eating out of habit. Try having a cup of tea or sip a glass of water with sliced lemon or cucumber instead — you’ll satisfy your oral fixation without consuming unnecessary calories.
2. FILL UP ON PROTEIN AND FIBER
If you’re going to snack, make it count. It’s important to eat foods that combine protein and fiber, since they help satisfy that hunger feeling while also supplying your body with vital nutrients. Hard-boiled eggs, unsalted nuts, edamame or apple slices drizzled with almond butter are better, healthier choices. Also try sunflower-seed butter on whole-grain crackers, hummus with pepper slices or plain Greek yogurt topped with berries or cucumbers.
These snacks will help prevent you from overeating at the next meal or snacking too much on energy-dense foods like cookies and chips. For more healthy snack ideas, check out this list of 12 delicious high-protein snacks under 210 calories.
3. PLAN YOUR SNACKS AHEAD OF TIME
If you have a stash of healthy, tasty snacks on hand, you’ll be less likely to reach for a pastry or bag of chips when you hit that afternoon slump. Hungry people tend to grab the first foods in sight, usually foods high in fat and calories, and often in excessive quantities. That’s why it’s recommended to prepare your snacks in advance. Chop veggies and fruit, pour nuts in a Ziploc bag or whip up a green smoothie to stick in the freezer. This is also a smart way to pre-portion food so you’re not overeating.
4. KEEP FRUIT IN PLAIN SIGHT
A study published in the Journal of Health Education and Behavior suggests you’re most likely to eat whatever is most visible in your home or truck. Dieticians recommend storing fruit in a bowl on your kitchen countertop or desk or in your cab so you always have something healthy to reach for.
5. DON’T EAT IN FRONT OF YOUR SCREEN
Research shows that eating while distracted makes you more likely to ignore your body’s satiety signals and, thus, overeat. Instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube as you snack, step away from your gadgets. Limiting these external distractions is key to eating mindfully, rather than mindlessly. “It’s important to sit down to a meal without distractions, slow down, savor every bite and listen to [your] body cues and satiety signals to prevent overeating and subsequent weight gain.”
6. STAY WELL-HYDRATED
One last suggestion is to make sure you are sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon of water per day. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
One way to calculate the amount of water you should drink daily is to multiply your weight by 2/3: For example, if you weighed 175 pounds you would multiply that by 2/3 and learn you should be drinking about 117 ounces of water every day.
Here is a quick and easy way to determine if you are getting dehydrated or if you are well-hydrated: If there is a dark color or an odor when you urinate, that could be a sign you are getting dehydrated. If there is no smell and clear or translucent in color than you are probably well-hydrated.
We know how challenging eating right on the road can be, but we hope these health tips will help you to maintain good, healthy eating habits.