We know that when the urge to occupy your hands and mouth hits, it can be helpful to find a substitute for a cigarette stat. So here are 10 healthier options you can reach for during your next snack attack. Keep in mind that the more convenient a healthy snack item is, the more likely we are to eat it—and thus benefit from all the nutrients it has to offer.
So many options to choose from—red, yellow, or green peppers, sliced zucchini or yellow squash, baby carrots—you name it! Slicing up some veggies to throw in a plastic, zippable bag or reusable container to take with you to work (or elsewhere) can offer a vitamin-rich go-to whenever hunger hits throughout the day. Dip 'em in hummus for added flavor and protein.
Full of a disease-fighting compound called lycopene, grape tomatoes aren’t just great for your body. They can also be fun to pop in your mouth! (And far more satisfying to your body than cigarettes.)
Packed with vitamin C and fiber, apples are great go-tos whenever you need a sugar boost. Plus, they're high in fiber, so they'll fill you up better (and for longer) than, say, a bag of salty chips.
Grab a bag of red or green grapes at the grocery store for a heart-healthy nosh option. Like vegetables and other fruits, grapes contain compounds called polyphenols, which may help slow the growth of certain cancers. Pop 'em in the freezer for a deliciously refreshing cool-down that tastes like sherbet.
Sneak some more calcium into your diet by chewing on a stick or two of string cheese. Bite or peel apart this fun snack to occupy your hands and mouth with something much healthier than a cigarette.
If you’re in need of a low-calorie edible, rice cakes can be a handy, portable substitute for smokes. For added protein and taste, spread some peanut butter on one.
Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts (preferably, the un-salted kind) are great snacks to reach for when your stomach starts growling. Brimming with antioxidants that protect your body’s cells from damage, nuts don’t require refrigeration and are relatively lightweight. But be sure to eat only one small handful of nuts at a time, as these yummy options tend to be quite high in calories.
Want to slurp something down but concerned about all the sugar in juices? Try some seltzer. This bubbly water can not only hydrate you, it can help create feelings of fullness for folks hoping to cut back on how much they eat.
Water with a Lemon Wedge
Another swap for high-calorie soda and juice is plain old water with a lemon wedge. A squeeze of citrus into your H20 can give you that added flavor without all the junk that most processed drinks contain.
Need something more filling? Tasty and typically rich with fiber, the oats that make up granola can give you the carbohydrates you need to fuel your day. But be choosy with the type of granola you end up putting in your mouth. Check labels on the box or bag it comes in to make sure those grams of sugar don’t crop up in double digits—or that the ingredients don’t contain additives like high-fructose corn syrup, which can be bad for your blood sugar (and belt size).