Snacking isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer a few large meals throughout the day while others like to constantly eat every hour on the hour. While snacking can be a controversial topic, I believe that snacking can be beneficial when done correctly. Snacking is a great way to maintain stable blood sugar levels, decrease overeating, maintain weight management, keep up metabolism and increase energy!
When to eat throughout the day is a personal choice and there is no right answer. I say listen to your body and try to determine if you’re actually hungry or just bored before you dig in. Drinking a big glass of water can help offset hunger and is a good way to see if you are actually hungry. I recommend drinking at least 8 oz of water and waiting about 15 minutes before eating. If you’re still hungry go for it!
Over eating:When people starve themselves, they are more likely to give into cravings and over eat at mealtimes. If someone is not as hungry, they are more likely to make a better food choice because they aren’t starving. This is why many Dietitians say to never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You’re more likely to miss your health goals when doing so.
Weight management:When there is less overeating there is naturally better weight control. An excess in calories no matter where they are coming from, result in fat storage. Any excess of carbohydrates (which are the typical macronutrient that is overconsumed) is either stored in the muscle or liver as glycogen for energy. When that capacity is reached, the excess is converted into fat and stored as such. Basic takeaway: less overeating= less excess fat storage
Blood Sugar Stability: When we consume carbohydrates our blood sugar naturally rises. Insulin is made in the pancreas to bring that blood sugar down to a normal level. When this ebb and flow occurs frequently and with more carbohydrates than the body can handle, the pancreas gets tired and stops producing as much insulin. This causes strain and can stop the function of the pancreas all together resulting in diabetes. In order to minimize this drastic “up and down” of blood sugar, consistent healthy diet, exercise and minimal alcohol consumption can decrease your chances in developing this pancreas “burn out”. High fiber foods and combining carbohydrates with healthy fats and protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels as well.
Increase energy:Food is fuel. When depriving yourself of this fuel you are doing a disservice to your brain! It is important to fill up a gas tank so your car runs smoothly. You wouldn’t skimp on filling up your car so don’t skimp on filling up your body. Energy is important for daily tasks, can improve memory, focus and mood levels.
Healthy Snack Recommendations:
- Turkey, cheese and lettuce wraps
- Smoothie –1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup almond milk, ½-1 cup fruit of choice, and handful of spinach
- Hard boiled eggs (Super easy to prepare ahead and bring on the go!)
- Homemade soups. stews and chili (protein, fat, healthy carbs and fiber to keep you full)
- Yogurt (low sugar <7g preferred) with fruit and pb (Watch sugar and serving size of PB)
- Cheese stick- Great protein and fat
- Granola bar (Be careful of sugar and added junk ingredients here)
- Bag of chopped veggies and hummus
- Apple with 1 T all natural PB
- Jerky and piece of fruit
- Cottage cheese and blueberries (protein, carbs and fiber will keep you full)
- Chickpea salad, chicken salad, egg salad with low fat mayo
- ¼ Avocado with everything seasoning and a piece of fruit
- 1 slice whole wheat toast with cream cheese and jam/ ¼ avocado and tomato/ PB and ½ banana
- Turkey and mustard roll ups
- Homemade popcorn with different seasonings! (cinnamon, garlic power, garlic salt, parmesan, chili oil etc.)
- Energy balls
- 1 cup cashews
- 8-10 dates (soaked in hot water)
- 2 tsp coconut oil (melted)
- coconut flakes/ dried unsweetened cherries
- chia/hemp seeds (to roll in)
Pulse cashews in food processor into a flour. Add dates (discard water before adding) and pulse until a thick dough forms. Add melted coconut oil and pulse again. Stir in cherries/coconut flakes. Roll in hemp/chia and refrigerate. Last about a week- if they’re not already gone by then…