Snacks have their place. But a small place, an every now and then type of place. A place with few visitors. A place with no seats to linger too long. In fact, standing room only. Overall, they can turn into an unhealthy habit and have no real proper place.
Go Ahead . . . SometimesProper or not. The exceptions are there. They could include the following:
- If your meeting ran long and you couldn't take more time for lunch, a snack can tie you over to dinner.
- If you have a high metabolism and you are working out after work or have practice after school, a snack an hour before your workout or practice could really benefit you and help maintain your energy level.
- Children sometimes need the calories and nutrition a snack can provide as they are growing and are so active.
- Another example of smart snacking is with a hypoglycemic person. Small snacks may be needed to balance the blood sugar. These snacks might include foods that don't cause large swings in blood sugar such as cherries, bananas, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and nuts.
- Pregnant women can benefit from carefully planned healthy snacks.
The Maze of the GrazeThe grazing style of eating is popular for some and they may feel their best on that type of eating plan. But studies have shown the calorie savings of that style of eating versus the three meals a day is nil. Further, it is difficult for some to create frequent small healthy snacks, emphasizing the word small here as there is nothing so small about some of them. Rather, they just create several meals a day and call them small snacks. If you are a "grazer," ensure those snacks stay that way.
Contrary to what is thrown about regarding metabolism, other studies also show that eating frequency has no effect on a person’s overall metabolic rate. The theroy of eating frequently fueling your metabolism may not be true. It is better to focus on what you are eating throughout the day as a whole than how you spread it out.
What Exactly Are You Filling?Much of our snacking, especially in the U.S. as it is more culturally accepted here, is mindless. It fills our boredom or takes the edge off our anxiety. Snacks can really help pack on the pounds overtime as well. Further, your digestion needs a break. It should not constantly be churning away. And, late night snacking, well, there is no good that can become of that. Bad habit. Period.
So, before you reach for that snack, ask yourself, are you really hungry or it just a habit or filling a void that should not be filled with that Dunken Donut your co-worker just brought in to the office.
The Smart Snack ReachAll that said, here are some healthy snacks to reach for when it makes sense. But, please do not make this a daily habit. In other words, track your snacks and keep them in their proper place.
- A few celery sticks filled with hummus and chopped olives
- One piece of whole grain toast with a small smear of almond butter and a few nectarine slices
- 2 cups popped organic popcorn tossed with 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil and a 1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds
- 1 or 2 tomatoes cut in half, sprinkled with salt and pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of parmesan cheese and placed under the broiler until bubbly then drizzeled with balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup of heated vegetarian broth like this one: Lead with a Good Base. Add a handful of cut up organic vegetables (carrot slices, green beans, corn, tomatoes)
- A small smoothie that contains chia seeds as they help fill you up as well as contain numerous health properties
- Bean dip with green and red pepper pieces. Try this simple one: 3 minute bean dip at Find Your Nerd: Pack a Lunch.
- Something sweet? Try raw cacao. Try this recipe for raw cacao fudge bites.
- A large glass of water. Hunger can sometimes mask thirst.
- Chunks of banana, rasberries and strawberries drizzeld with a few melted dark chocolate pieces and a sprinkle of crushed nuts of choice
- 3/4 cup of plain organic yogurt with a small drizzle of walnut oil and sprinkle of berries
- 1/2 avocado with a squirt of Sriracha hot sauce and sprinkled with a little sea salt.