Who doesn’t like to snack? Whether you’re on the road, out with friends, or hanging out at home, indulging in tasty, bite-sized foods is almost always appealing. But let’s face it, a lot of the most popular snacks out there aren’t the healthiest options. They are highly processed, lacking important nutrients, and full of unhealthy additives like artificial flavors, sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Needless to say, these types of snacks are not the healthiest things we could be eating, and they can be particularly hard on your gut.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to completely gut out snacking in the name of gut health. Instead, you just need to understand how snacks can affect your digestive system so you can choose options that will nourish and support your gut instead of harming it.
The Relationship Between Snacks And Your Gut
When we’re talking about gut health, we are specifically talking about the balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome. There are trillions of bacteria that reside in your gut, and while this may sound alarming at first, we assure you it’s not a bad thing. Many of these bacteria are helpful and have an important role to play in a variety of bodily functions such as nutrient absorption, immune response, hormone regulation, and waste elimination.
The secret to reaping all the benefits of a healthy gut is to foster a good balance between helpful and harmful bacteria in your digestive tract. The best way to do this? Nourishing and supporting these bacteria with the foods you eat. This is where snacks come in.
While tempting to nibble on, the most popular snacks like potato chips, candy bars, and pretzels, are not great for your gut. Their main problem is that they are highly processed, which can be harmful to your gut for a couple of reasons.
For starters, foods that are highly processed often contain preservatives and artificial ingredients. While these ingredients are often used to enhance flavor, research indicates that many of these additives can alter the composition of bacteria in your gut micrbiome and disrupt your gut health.
Additionally, food processing techniques remove or destroy vital nutrients. Sometimes, these nutrients are added back in later, but these synthetic or extracted versions are not as easy for our bodies to absorb and use. What does this mean for the bacteria in your gut? In simple terms, it means that the good bacteria are not receiving the nutrients they need in order to thrive, which gives colonies of harmful bacteria a chance to grow. Furthermore, every system in your body, including your digestive system, needs a variety of nutrients in order to function properly. Snacks that are low in nutrients are essentially empty calories that your body can’t use to help it function properly.
A Guide To Gut-Friendly Snacks
There are an abundance of gut-friendly foods out there that will both satisfy your snacking needs and support a happy, healthy gut. Instead of reaching for that bag of chips, you’ll want to looks for snacks that meet a few gut-supporting criteria.
- They are filled with fiber. Foods that contain fiber make great snacks! Not only does the fiber help keep you from over eating by helping you feel full longer, but it is also a favorite snack of the good bacteria in your gut. When you feed your gut bacteria fiber, you will be providing them with the noursihment they need to not only survive but thrive.
- They are rich in nutrients. Avoid filling up on empty calories by choosing snacks that are rich in vitamins, minerals, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This will help ensure that your gut, and the rest of your body, are getting everything they need to keep you looking and feeling your best.
- They contain prebitoics and probiotics. Prebiotics and probiotics are two of your best friends when it comes to gut health. Much like fiber, prebiotics provide the nourishment needed to support your good gut bacteria. Meanwhile, probiotics are living bacteria, which means they can help seed your gut with good bacteria to help restore or maintain balance. Not all gut-friendly snacks will contain prebiotics or probiotics, but adding a few probiotic foods to your snack menu will help give your gut a little extra support.
Need some new snack ideas? We’ve got you covered! Here are some of our favorite gut-healthy foods that deserve a spot in your snack rotation.
Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit
If you are looking for a delicious yet filling snack, consider mixing some yogurt with your favorite fresh fruits. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of both protein and probiotics, which makes it a great snack for your gut. By mixing in some fruit, you’ll be adding in a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients as well as a healthy dose of fiber. Plus, the addition of fruit means you can make this snack a little different every time. All you have to do is mix in a different fruit and enjoy!
Wholegrain Crackers or Chips
Yes, there is a gut-healthy version of your favorite salt-filled snacks! When you find yourself reaching for your usual crackers or potato chips, go for wholegrain options instead. Why? The answer is simple—wholegrains are high in fiber. When grains are processed or refined, much of this fiber is removed, so sticking to wholegrains for your snacking needs will help provide your gut bacteria with plenty of fiber to snack on.
Another fiber-rich food that your gut loves is granola. What’s more? Granola is one of the most versatile snack foods out there! You can make it into cereal by adding milk, mix it in with some nuts for a salty snack, or use it to make energy bars for a grab and go treat.
Hummus and Veggies
With plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, vegetables are some of the most gut-friendly foods out there. Some of our favorite vegetables to snack on pair nicely with hummus, which is another great food for providing your gut with plenty of fiber. Next time you’re in the mood for a snack, cut up some carrots, bell peppers, or cauliflower and bust out the hummus for a nutritious and filling treat.
Celery with Almond Butter
If you’re pressed on time or just want to fix something simple, celery and almond butter is a great option. Both of these ingredients are fiber rich, so pairing them together is not only delicious but also nutritious and filling. So go ahead and cut up some celery sticks, place some almond butter in a dipping bowl, and enjoy!
Smoothies, Kombucha or Water
Of course, no snack is complete without a drink to go with it. Generally, you’ll want to stick to water, but if you’re in the mood for something different, natural kombucha is a great option as it contains probiotics that will help seed your gut with good bacteria. Alternatively, you could also throw your favorite fruits and vegetables into a blender with some almond milk and yogurt to whip up a refreshinig gut-friendly smoothie. To give your gut even more of a boost, you can mix your favorite gut-support supplements into your smoothie as well.
Live The #NewEarthLife
A healthy gut naturally leads to a healthy body, which is why caring for your gut is at the center of what we call living the #NewEarthLife. So go ahead, join us in improving your digestive health by swapping out those processed snacks for ones that will nourish and support your gut while being equally, if not more, delicious.
Interested in learning more about what you can do to improve your gut health? Join us for our upcoming 30-Day Gut Reboot—a month long challenge specifically designed to help you create sustainable daily habits to support a healthy gut and a healthy you.
At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.