Though this may be the first-world problem to end all first-world problems, snacking out of boredom rather than actual hunger has happened to all of us at some point in our lives. And full disclosure: It's almost always an impulsive effort to assuage a craving or chase that mid-afternoon sugar high, processed snacks, chips, and candy bars included.
But rather than de-railing your entire healthy eating plan for one afternoon of debaucherous snacking, why not reach for somewhat healthy snacks that are just as readily available when the boredom strikes? Considering that eating when bored is classified as a type of emotional eating, it may be easier to simply switch out the bag of goldfish for veggies and hummus rather than breaking the habit altogether.
So next time you find yourself wanting to eat just for the sake of eating (or to procrastinate, de-stress, distract yourself, wind down after work, etc.), consider reaching for the following expert-recommended healthy snacks, as originally reported by Elle:
When You're Craving Something Salty
Dietitian Keri Glassman recommends reaching for seaweed snacks. They "conquer that salty craving for very few calories and loads of nutrients, including minerals such as magnesium and even calcium," she told the magazine. If seaweed's not your thing, you can't go wrong with a pickle. "They're salty and crunchy, nailing two cravings at once—for almost no calories."
When You're Craving Something Sweet
Taste test Nature's All Foods Organic Freeze Dried Apples. "By snacking on these, you'll switch off that sweet craving and get some magnesium, which is great for stress," explains James. If you've got chocolate on the brain, try a glass of chocolate almond milk or even an organic dark chocolate bar (with a high percentage of cacao).
When You're Craving Something Crunchy
Look no further than your favorite movie theater snack. "While popcorn is still an empty carb, you get volume for your calories," said nutritionist Dana James. Of course, they specifically recommend the air-popped plain variety, as opposed to the salt-and-butter-coated snack. Can't fathom passing up that buttery flavor? James recommends sprinkling vitamin B-12 fortified nutritional yeast on top.
Head over to Elle for more nutritionist-recommended boredom snacks, and share your favorites with us below!