Ninety seven percent of Americans snack at least five times a day and get twenty four percent of their total calories through snacking. With snacks providing this many calories, it is crucial we pick the right ones, because as it is looking right now, our snacks have increased, but so have the waistlines.
Snacking isn’t necessarily bad, in fact snacks help manage your hunger, keep your blood sugar in check, improves your mood, a brain booster, provides needed nutrients, and helps reduce bingeing. The key to keeping your weight, energy, and health managed through snacking is your quality of food, real hunger, and portion control. Supplying your body with the right nutrients, energy, and quality foods will help keep you on the right path through out your day.
Snack on foods that really do something for your body by thinking quality not quantity. High nutrient dense foods are foods that will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Colorful, fresh, and unprocessed. Try to stay off those processed simple carbs such as bagels, muffins, chips, and junk food that give you that quick high, and an even faster drop, only to be hungry in an hour again. Try some higher protein snacks, and complex carbohydrates (apple with almond butter, roasted chick peas, baby carrots, bell peppers with hummus) that are slower burning and help regulate those neurotransmitters in your brain so you can stay alert, have better concentration, and keep those cravings at bay.
Many people ask me if they should snack every 2 hours even if they’re not hungry.
Listen to your body; try to snack when you are truly hungry. If you’re not hungry then don’t eat. That doesn’t mean go all day without food, but a few hours before a meal if your stomach, mood, or brain starts to tell you you’re in need of something, then its time for that snack. Keep hunger managed and you will be sure to have control over your next food choices. If you only have time for a few meals then make your meals a bit bigger. Many people (especially woman) eat a snack-like meal and actually don’t get enough to sustain them more than a few hours. Eat enough wholesome, healthy meals, or break up your healthy lunch into a few snacks and you will find that your more satisfied and not looking for food every hour.
If your looking to lose weight the concept of “small frequent meals” works, but the emphasis here is on the word “small” not ‘Frequent”. So listen to your body, plan ahead, and have available some good healthy snacks.
Here are a few tips to remember:
• Try to keep your snacks at 100-200 calories.
• Snacking is optional/eat only when hungry
• The more often you eat, the smaller the meals need to be
• Have healthy snacks on hand.
• Think Quality
Pick healthy and nutritious foods such as:
Lots of water ( added fruits. Lemons, limes, mint, cucumbers)
Fresh fruit/ berries
Vegetables( cucumbers, peppers, snap peas, broccoli) w/ hummus or a vinaigrette
Almond/ peanut butter ( 1 Tbsp.)w/ banana, celery, apple
Organic Baby carrots
A fresh green juice
Thin corn cake w/ PB
Nuts/ seeds (1 small handful)
Hard boiled egg
Greek plain yogurt
Here is one of my favorite high protein snacks that even the kids like…
• 1 can of organic chick peas
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Spices of choice ( curry, tarragon, oregano, turmeric, chili powder etc)
1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Rinse and drain chick peas and remove skins.
3. Let dry completely
4. Toss with oil, salt and spices
Baked in the oven for about 30-40 min until crunchy but not burnt…Enjoy