(BPT) - We've all been there; 3 p.m. rolls around and suddenly you need a snack. As children, we thrived on snacks, but as we grow older many of us ignore those in-between-meals hunger pangs. We ignore the signals our stomach sends us in an attempt to be healthy. However, healthy snacking not only boasts the metabolism, but keeps cravings for less healthy foods - like that chocolate cake - at bay.
'Snacks help me stay motivated to keep moving throughout the day,' says Ilyse Baker, dance and fitness expert to celebrities and creator of the Dancinerate fitness program and videos. 'I'm always on the go, so I have smart snack options on hand to keep my energy up between meals.'
By following a few simple tips from Baker, you can transform your snacking behavior and even eat more healthfully throughout the day.
* Be prepared. Having a few snack options on hand will help you make smarter decisions once hunger strikes. Slice up vegetables on Sundays to have available throughout the week to eat with hummus. Keep nuts, crackers and trail mix at your desk, in the car and in your gym bag so there is always a healthy snack within reach.
* Choose foods you actually like. It takes a strong person to nibble on nuts day in and day out. By selecting snacks you enjoy, you're more likely to eat them and not be tempted by other, less nutritious options. If you have a sweet tooth, snack on a healthier alternative, like Nonni's THINaddictives. These delicious almond thins are pre-portioned in 100-calorie packs and made with wholesome, antioxidant-rich ingredients like crunchy California almonds, savory pistachios and succulent cranberries. 'For a quick snack, eat THINaddictives plain, or add a boost of protein by making a sandwich with a teaspoon of peanut butter and sliced bananas,' Baker says.
* Plan your portions. When hunger hits, it's easy to go overboard with the snacks. Look for pre-portioned snacks or portion out your snacks ahead of time. It's a great way to keep you from overindulging, which can lead to weight gain. Individually wrapped snacks are also great on the go alternatives so you're not stuck finding something to nibble on that might not be as nutritious.
* Stop trying to be perfect. Sometimes you really just want to eat that piece of cake. Indulging in your cravings now and then is fine, as long as you don't make a habit of it. If you decide to snack on something less healthy, opt to have a salad for dinner to even out the calories.
Don't let snacking derail your healthy eating goals. By planning ahead and selecting the smart nibble options, you can easily strike a healthful balance that will keep you satisfied while on the go all day long. For additional snacking ideas, visit Nonni's THINaddictives on Facebook at Facebook.com/THINaddictives.