snacking

BENEFITS OF HEALTHY SNACKING

Grazing on healthy snacks not only tide you over until your next meal, they promote important functions that can significantly affect the way your body feels and mind thinks throughout the day, as well as in the long run.  The snacks you choose to incorporate into your usual routine greatly impacts your current and future health.  Snacking smart provides physical and mental energy and tempers undesirable changes in mood.  Snacking generally helps you modify the amount of food eaten at mealtime, which may help keep your body composition in check. When you practice mindfulness while choosing your meals and snacks wisely, you are taking responsibility of your  mind, body,  and health, which no one can do for you, but yourself.

Healthy snacking promotes all of the following:

  • Curb hunger and cravings
  • Help you make wiser food choices during mealtimes
  • Support weight loss or management
  • Boost the body’s immune system
  • Support growth and mental acuity
  • Reduce incidences of unnecessary arguments with significant others due to feeling hangry (I think we can all relate)

HELPFUL TIPS FOR SNACKING

  • Practice mindfulness: snack when your body tells you it’s hungry.  Take note of how you feel and function differently on days you snack. Recognize which types of snacks make you feel best for the longest period of time after consumption and stick with those snacks
  • Always carry plenty of water to stay hydrated.  Thirst is often mistaken for hunger and cravings.  When you’re feeling hungry, drink a glass of water and revisit that feeling to check if it’s really hunger.
  • Snacks high in protein provide substantial amount of longer lasting energy.  It is a common misbelief that carbohydrates keep you fuller; however, high-carbohydrate foods actually digest more rapidly, which often leads to feeling hungry sooner.
  • High fiber snacks support longer term energy, fullness and health (less constipation = happy bowel movements = less risk of colon cancer)
  • Keep a supply of snacks with you everywhere (at home, at work, on the way to your workout, etc.) to ensure that you snack often
  • Pack non-perishable snacks that are convenient and will last in your bag for long hours

Learn more healthy habits here to gain control over your snacking behavior.

SNACKING IDEAS

  • Nutrition/Protein/Granola bars  (choose low sugar: < 5g sugar; lowfat: < 3g fat; high protein: > 5g protein)
  • Protein shake with 8 oz water or milk (15-25g protein)
  • String cheese (always pack two 1 ounce sticks in your bag)
  • Handful of roasted soy nuts, nuts, and seeds  (unsalted)
  • Soybeans/edamame, garbanzo beans or other legume based dish (1 cup)
  • Nut butter, hummus, or lowfat cheese/cottage cheese (1-2 tbsp only) with a handful of whole grain: pretzels, crackers, breadsticks (unsalted)
  • Nut butter or hummus (1-2 tbsp only) on whole grain: bread, english muffin, bagel, pita, rice cakes
  • Peanut butter with sliced banana, apple, or celery
  • Lowfat yogurt topped with whole grain cereal or banana
  • Smoothie made with lowfat yogurt, protein powder and fruit (6 oz)
  • Sliced turkey, chicken breast, or tuna (low sodium, organic, antibiotic free and hormone free is best) with whole grain crackers or one slice of bread
  • A mini whole wheat bagel and 3 oz smoked salmon
  • Whole grain cold or hot cereal with lowfat or nonfat milk (1 cup)
  • Legume soup (1 cup)
  • Vegetables with lowfat cottage cheese, nut butter or hummus
  • Homemade trail mix or granola which can be easily made healthy with less sugar, more protein and fiber than store bought options
  • One egg scrambled with veggies (spinach, kale, bell peppers, tomatoes) and a few slices of avocado
  • Mini banana protein pancakes (with flavored protein powder like chocolate, vanilla, etc)
  • Mini sweet potato muffins

The next helpful post: how to acquire a taste for raw foods

healthy-snack-infographic-web

(Source: Infographic via MD Anderson Cancer Center)

 

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