Humans are animals, and in the modern context, our natural gift for seeking out nutrients has been folded in upon itself.

The snacking behaviors we see in ourselves aren’t bad, but when it comes to healthy living, we may want to reexamine what we’re selecting.

Companies spend millions of dollars each year to determine the most tempting combination of flavors and textures that will make their products appealing. It has long been noted that we seek out fat, salt, and sugar—those things being relatively scarce in the natural environment.

But another interesting aspect of taste science when applied to human appetites is that crunchy foods, crispy and snappy treats, are the most psychologically satisfying ones.

How can we apply this to a healthier array of snacking choices? Let’s examine our options.

Veggies Instead

While carrots and celery won’t leave you with that characteristic oily residue that often results from forays into the potato chip bag, they also won’t contribute to negative health practices.

Often what we’re seeking when we head for the pantry is a satisfying crunch—flavor is incidental. If you want to spice things up a bit, a great substitute for creamy, chemical-laced dip is hummus.

Made from ground chickpeas and sesame oil, this ancient foodstuff now comes in a variety of flavors. It’s full of vitamin E, almost completely fat free, and adds a delicious contrast to those veggies.

Try broccoli florets, slices of bell peppers, and even cherry tomatoes if you’re in the mood for adventure.

Traditional Popcorn

As a replacement for a variety of crunchy but unhealthy snack foods, go for popcorn.

Invest in an air-popper or a more traditional model of popcorn popper when you make this transition. Microwave popcorn contains any number of rather unsavory ingredients and is a decided convenience food in terms of cost.

Making it yourself will allow you to customize your serving size, save money, and control what ingredients you consume.

Sweet Treats

Our palates are narcotized by the unnaturally high level of sweetness in our modern foods. In fact, too much refined sugar acts on the brain like a drug.

While it can be difficult at first, going off of refined sugar—as well as artificial sweeteners—will actually allow you to taste the natural sweetness in your food, which is an unexpectedly awesome experience.

Cookies, cakes, and confections have become accepted snack foods. We often consume them while watching television or surfing the Internet, without actually consciously tasting them.

Apples with crunchy natural peanut butter—which should contain nothing but peanuts and a little salt—are a fantastic and incredibly satisfying snack. The natural sugars in the apple are balanced by the soluble and insoluble fibers and vitamins the fruit contains; fresh apple slices are also delightfully crunchy.

The crunchy yet creamy texture of the peanuts provides healthy fats that satisfy any hunger signals your brain is processing (if you have a peanut allergy, substitute a nut butter of your choice).

If you’re craving another sweet finger food, try peeling a few clementines—baby mandarin oranges or tangerines—and have the diminutive segments at hand for your evening television time. They are tart, sweet, incredibly healthy, and satisfying.

These are just a few examples of how you can substitute nutrient-dense, healthy foods for the empty and unhealthy snack foods to which we’ve become culturally accustomed.

Even if you still sometimes indulge in junk foods, if you elect to go fresh and healthy nine times out of ten, you’re going to see a better level of overall health, alertness, and increased feelings of well-being.