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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

How to Choose Healthy Snacks

In our modern, fast-paced world, grabbing a quick snack often means reaching for something processed and high in sugar. However, these choices can contribute to weight gain and other health issues over time. Dr. Philip Mach, a practitioner of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Sleep, and Internal Medicine, who is transitioning to become a full-time health coach, emphasizes the importance of selecting snacks that are not only delicious but also nutritious. Here are some of his expert tips and snack ideas to help you make healthier choices.

Mach advises focusing on whole foods and choosing snacks that are low in sugar and processed ingredients. Opt for whole foods that are organic and minimally processed, with natural flavors and colors. Aim for snacks that contain a balance of protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep us feeling satisfied.

Nutrient-Dense Snack Ideas:

1. Hummus and Veggies: Pair homemade or organic hummus with fresh vegetable sticks like carrots, cucumbers or cherry tomatoes for a nutritious and filling snack.

2. Greek Yogurt with Berries: Choose unsweetened Greek yogurt and add fresh berries for a protein-packed snack rich in fiber and vitamins. Consider coconut yogurt as an alternative, but be mindful of added sugars.

3. Nuts and Seeds: Opt for unsalted and unsweetened varieties of almonds, walnuts or pumpkin seeds, which are excellent sources of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Roasted Chickpeas: Roast chickpeas with flavorful spices like cumin, paprika or garlic and rosemary for a crunchy and satisfying snack that’s high in protein and fiber.

5. Hard-Boiled Eggs: These are convenient, portable and packed with protein and healthy fats, making them an ideal snack for staying full between meals.

6. Apple Slices with Almond Butter: Enjoy the natural sweetness and fiber of apple slices paired with protein-rich almond butter for a satisfying and nutritious snack.

7. Avocado Toast: Spread mashed avocado on gluten-free or sprouted grain bread for a filling snack loaded with healthy fats and fiber.

8. Roasted Edamame: Roast edamame with a dash of salt and chili flakes for a crunchy and protein-packed snack that’s also high in fiber.

9. Sliced Bell Peppers with Hummus or Guacamole: Low in calories and high in vitamin C, bell peppers make a perfect vehicle for enjoying hummus or guacamole as a nutritious snack option.

Tips for Choosing Commercial Snacks:

  • Look for snacks with five ingredients or less to avoid overly processed options.
  • Avoid sucralose and Splenda, opting instead for natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit.
  • Be cautious of sugar alcohols as they can cause digestive issues.
  • Avoid snacks with ingredients that can’t be pronounced and that are enriched wheat flour.
  • Choose snacks with good amounts of fiber and low sugar content, ideally less than 5 to 7 grams per serving.
  • Look for the organic seal, indicating that at least 90 percent of the ingredients are organic.

By following these guidelines and incorporating Mach’s snack ideas into our routine, we can make healthier choices and nourish our bodies with the nutrients we need for optimal health and well-being.

Philip Mach, Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Counselor, FNLP, CNC, M.D. For more information or to make an appointment, call 609-245-6326 or visit

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