Healthy snacks can keep hunger at bay while providing essential nutrients and supporting weight control. The right ones also give us energy, keep our blood sugar balanced and help us maintain focus throughout the day. In winter, however, when the weather is bleak and the nights are too long, the common tendency is to shelter in place with our favorite comfort foods. This is especially easy since Farmers Markets are less likely to be carrying as much fresh produce as we’re used to seeing in warmer months. However, the healthier we eat in winter, the better we feel. The more “comfort food” we eat, the more sluggish, sleepy and hungry we tend to feel. So even though it may take a little more effort, the benefits are worth it. Below is our guide to 7 simple ways you can beat those comfort food cravings and snack healthy all winter long. 1. Turn to seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients. While summer fruits and vegetables such as peaches, watermelon, and tomatoes may not be as abundant, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables that are readily available in the winter. According to Fruits and Veggies: More Matters, fruits such as oranges, tangerines, pears, and persimmons, along with vegetables such as Belgian endive, kale, and winter squash, are in season in winter months. They may even be higher quality than in summer. 2. Combine your nutrients. Protein, fat, and carbohydrates are the three main sources of calories. Harvard School of Public Health suggests including at least two of those nutrients at each snack. These are some ideas:
- Bake slices of acorn squash, which is high in good carbohydrates, brushed with olive oil, which has heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Pack hard-boiled eggs, which are high in protein, with apples, which are high in good carbohydrates.
- Eat snack bars, such as Zing Bars, which contain healthy fat, protein, and fiber-rich carbs.
- Hard-boil eggs
- Wash and cut fruits and vegetables
- Cook some lean protein, such as chicken breast or shrimp