Well friend, here we are again embarking on a new year with new visions and goals! Why is it that every year we tend to wish that the coming year will be better than the last? Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, especially when it comes to taking great care of our bodies! Let’s change that right now!
Snacking can be a double-edged sword when trying to implement healthy habits. On one hand, snacking is a great way to regulate blood sugars and keep yourself from being too hungry at mealtimes, while on the other hand it can be an unwanted source of added fat, calories, and sugar if not done correctly.
Keep reading to learn more about gut healthy snacks you can feel good about going into the new year!
Why “Gut Healthy” Snacks?
The gut, also referred to as the 2nd brain, is what I like to call the main conductor of activity in the body! As Hippocrates once said, “All disease starts in the gut”. Knowing that, why wouldn’t you choose to include gut healthy snacks in your diet?
The main function of the gut is to digest and absorb nutrients from the foods and beverages we eat and then excrete unwanted waste from the body. Additionally, the gut also plays a key role in hormone regulation, the immune system, insulin resistance, metabolism, and mental health.
The foods that we put in our body have an enormous effect on the way we feel and function daily. So, let’s check out one small way we can improve that, healthy snacks!
What Makes a Snack Gut Healthy?
You may be thinking, “I would like to eat gut healthy snacks, but what makes a snack healthy for the gut?” Interestingly, healthy snacking provides many benefits beyond just improved gut health. Keep reading below to see what properties to look for when choosing gut healthy snacks to start incorporating in the new year.
High in Fiber
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends adults consume roughly 25-35gm of fiber daily, at a minimum. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.
Good Source of Healthy Fat
This may come as a surprise to you, but not all fats are bad for you! Unhealthy fats, such as Trans fats, are abundant in heavily processed foods, convenience foods, and deep-fried foods.
Healthy fats, such as Omega-3, are not only good for gut health but also for heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods such as salmon, mackerel, flax, and walnuts.
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, depression, heart disease, dementia, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. I know this may sound too good to be true, but eating anti-inflammatory foods is one of the best ways to prevent chronic inflammation.
This Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Foods List includes a downloadable PDF to keep on hand for grocery shopping and snacking.
This may be a no-brainer, but nutrient density is key when talking healthy snacking! Choosing foods that are good sources of vitamins and minerals will naturally increase your intake of compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids and folate, which are all great for gut health and mental wellness.
Low in Sugar
While the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25gms of sugar per day for women and no more than 35gms per day for men, American adults consume more than 3 times the recommend amount of sugar intake daily.
Pro Tip: By choosing fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and minimally processed snacks, you will naturally reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming through snacking.
Ok, don’t shoot the messenger here, but if all your snacks are coming from a package, you may have some opportunities for improvement. Don’t get me wrong, there are acceptable pre-packaged gut healthy snacks available on the market. For example, I love these Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips and these Rx Bars.
10 Gut Healthy Snacks for the New Year
- Apple Slices with Low-Fat Cheese Stick
- Bananas with Nut Butter (Ex. Cashew or Almond are great)
- Hummus and Veggies (Ex. Carrots, Celery, Bell Peppers)
- Overnight oats
- Plain Greek Yogurt with Berries
- Vegetable chips (Ex. Homemade in air fryer or oven)
- Chia pudding
- Smashed Avocado on Sprouted Grain Toast
- Acai Bowl
Healthy Snacks for On-the-Go
Finally, let’s talk healthy snacks in general, because not all healthy snacks are specifically “gut healthy”. You just can’t go wrong by adding any of these snacks in your lunch box or backpack to eat on the go!
- Grass-Fed Beef Sticks
- Whole Fresh Fruit
- Boiled Eggs
- Raw Mixed Nut Packs
- Applesauce Packets
- Rx Bars
- Sea Salt Popcorn
- Apple Chips
- Roasted Chickpeas
That’s a wrap on this New Year edition of gut healthy snacks! Here’s to a wonderful new year and new gut healthy options in your snack repertoire. Make sure to share your favorite healthy snack in the comments! We love hearing from our readers!
The purpose of this information is to inform and empower the reader to make positive lifestyle changes. The intent is not to replace medical advice or instructions given by your doctor or healthcare provider.
Angela Lago is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and holds a Master’s of Science in Nutrition. She is passionate about researching the connection between gut health and mental wellness. Learn more about Angela’s journey from being depressed, anxious, and sleep deprived to being happy, healthy, and thriving!