When and how to snack are the top questions many healthy-minded people ask themselves.

We know that our bodies need to fuel up in between healthy meals; especially when working out.

How do we know when we should and what we should be eating?

Is it For Real?

Are you really hungry? Is your stomach growling? How long has it been since you ate? Learning to distinguish boredom/stress/emotions from real hunger is the key. The best way to start this is to keep a food journal. Writing down what you eat, the time you ate, and your mental state when you ate, will help you be your own “snack detective”. Better yet, write your emotional state BEFORE you pick up a snack. You can read this first and decide if it’s really hunger or something else. If it’s boredom, stress, or something other than hunger, drink some water, take a deep breath, and literally walk it off.

Then Keepin’ it Real

Try to stay true and clean when it comes to snacking. Fruit, raw veggies, hummus, Greek yogurt, nuts, etc…If the ingredients begin with sugar, that’s what the majority of the snack is, so skip it. Be prepared by bringing these snacks with you to work, in the car when traveling back and forth, and at home. Always drink water also to help with the hunger (as sometimes it’s really thirst and not hunger you’re feeling!).

Grazing v. Snacking

According to mindbodygreen.com, grazing is splitting your good-food meals into smaller servings; meaning eating actual meals just in a smaller portion. This isn’t the same as snacking! Eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner (appropriate and healthy portions) and assess the times in between when you are really hungry. When you are hungry in between these meals, reach for the fruit, nuts, etc.., not a “mini-meal”.

Our bodies need fuel and energy throughout the day, even after meals. Prepare and plan out your snacks every day, and you won’t feel the need to overdo it during meal time. Snack on!