Regardless of your nutritional goals, snacking plays an important role. However, you need to be smart about it. Snacking throughout the day can help curb your appetite, keep you feeling full longer and prevent overeating. It can also stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease energy fluctuations throughout the day. Here is some food for thought about smart snacking.
Be a “mindful” snacker
- Use common sense when deciding what to snack on and listen to your body when it is full. Avoid snacking just because something tastes good or you are bored.
- Be aware of when you snack. Events such as watching TV, going to a tailgate or party can lead to overeating.
- Lastly, if you are prone to unnecessary or unhealthy snacking, try to pause in the moment and ask, “Do I really need to eat this?” Wait five minutes and then reevaluate. If after five minutes you are still set on your snack, go for it.
Consume balanced snacks
Balance ensures we are getting appropriate variety with our snacks and not overloading on any food groups. Look for snacks that contain lean protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and healthy unsaturated fats. These foods are more nutrient dense and take longer to digest, leaving you feeling full longer. Also, look for opportunities to fill in nutritional ‘gaps’ or items consistently missing in your diet (think fruits and vegetables).
Some smart snacking choices can include:
- Whole grain bagels, crackers, etc.
- Organic peanut butter
- A handful of nuts
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
Make smart snacking easy
Try pre-packing your snacks and measuring out appropriate portions the night before.
Also, get rid of the candy dish on your desk and keep healthy snacks within arms distance at work. Create an environment that allows you to be as successful as possible.
Be a label detective
Thoroughly read the labels of what you are snacking on to make sure there are no surprises and you are well aware of portion sizes.
Challenge yourself to practice mindful snacking. Use the tools listed above and be aware of what you are eating. You will be glad you did!