THE whole point of a snack is to fill you up enough so you don’t accidentally gnaw your arm off before lunch or dinner.
Unfortunately, plenty of between-meal bites fail to accomplish this — and actually end up making you even hungrier. The worst part: Some of your clean go-tos may be guilty. Check out these five surprising snack fails, plus easy fixes to make them more satisfying.
1. PLAIN FRUIT
Even though it’s good for you, fruit is high in simple sugars that can spike your blood sugar and leave you shaky, light-headed, and even in the mood to — yep — chow down on more sugar. Sure, fruit’s fibre helps your body absorb its sugar at a slower rate than, say, the sugar in a soft drink or chocolate bar. But on its own, that roughage still isn’t enough to keep you satisfied for long.
Make it more filling: Give your apple or banana more staying power by pairing it with some protein and healthy fat, like nut butter or cheese.
2. MUESLI BARS
Not all muesli bars are across-the-board terrible. But most tend to be loaded with sugar and empty carbs in the form of honey or cane syrup, puffed rice pieces, and even chocolate or caramel coating. Which is a guaranteed recipe for the kind of carb-induced blood sugar spike and crash that’ll ultimately leave you scrounging for more food.
Make it more filling: Look for bars made with some nuts and seeds — they’ll be higher in protein. Or crumble half a crunchy muesli bar over plain Greek yoghurt. (Also try making your own junk-free muesli bars at home.)
3. GREEN JUICE
That $12 cup of liquefied vegetables might be teeming with antioxidants, but most green juices tend to be too low in calories to actually keep you satisfied for very long. And ones that aren’t low-calorie are probably loaded with sugar, which, as we’ve established, is also no good when it comes to keeping hunger at bay. There’s also the fact that liquids get digested more quickly than whole foods — so a juice will literally pass through your system faster than the vegetables it was made from.
Make it more filling: Skip the juice in favour of a smoothie made with some nut butter, yoghurt, or protein powder.
4. CEREAL WITH ALMOND MILK
Carbs + protein = satisfying snack, which is why a bowl of cereal made with dairy milk can hold you over for a couple of hours. But unlike moo juice, almond milk is so low in protein that it’s basically the nutritional equivalent of pouring vitamin E-enriched water over your bran flakes.
Make it more filling: If you want to stay dairy-free, add some protein to your cereal bowl in the form of chopped nuts or seeds. Or just swap the almond milk for higher-protein dairy milk.
5. KALE CHIPS
Unless your kale chips are tricked out with some kind of nut-based coating, you’re basically snacking on dehydrated leafy greens. Which might make you feel virtuous, but since they’re practically devoid of calories, protein, and fat, they’ll also have your stomach grumbling again in an hour.
Make it more filling: Skip the plain kale chips in favour of ones made with yummy extras -specifically, cashews or tahini, both of which deliver a shot of protein and healthy fat.