The diet mentality taught us to ignore our hunger and not to snack.
Our Moms told us snacking would spoil our dinner! What if I told you she was wrong?
The healthy lifestyle mentality teaches us to feed our bodies when we feel hunger.
We want to fuel our bodies with nutrient-rich snacks!
Sometimes a little snack is exactly what our bodies need!
Think about fueling your body just like you do your car. You don’t expect your car to run without gas in the tank.
When we eat, we fuel our bodies. Our bodies convert the food to energy, and our blood sugar tank is full.
Our bodies use the fuel for everything, to think and blink and walk and work. After a couple of hours, our blood sugar tank is low and our brain sends out a message for more fuel.
If we ignore that message, we begin to feel tired and cranky and we don’t think as clearly. Can you relate to that feeling?
It describes most women who are on a diet.
The people in my family get ‘hangry’. They get irritable or angry easily because they are hungry.
When my kids were little they needed a snack after school or they were miserable. Even as young adults and they still need to snack to keep that ‘hangry’ feeling at bay.
There’s more good news about healthy snacking! Melissa Davidson, registered dietitian states, “Eating healthful snacks throughout the day can help ensure more healthful mealtimes”.
When we have healthy snacks throughout the day we aren’t overly hungry at mealtimes. It’s easier to eat a sensible portion because we haven’t starved ourselves all day.
When to snack?
We need to fill our fuel tank regularly throughout the day.
“Never go longer than 3 or 4 hours without eating. Our bodies prefer to have smaller, more frequent meals during the day rather than fewer large meals”, says licensed dietitian/nutritionist, Julie Whittington. This will ensure our blood sugar levels don’t get too low.
What to snack on?
We need to stay away from high sugar and high-fat snacks.
The perfect snack has one serving of carbohydrates; fruits or vegetables, or whole wheat bread or crackers for quick energy.
Adding a serving of protein; dairy, meat, nuts/seeds will help you feel satisfied until your next meal.
The snack has to be a reasonable portion and under 200 calories.
I often take a snack of an apple and mixed nuts with me on errand runs so that I am not tempted by fast food.
The glove compartment is a great place to stash some healthy granola bars.
Prepare snacks ahead of time so you and your family can grab one quickly and add it to lunch bags or take on an outing.
Here are some suggestions for home, work and on the go.
1 handful of almonds and a medium piece of fruit
1 tbsp. of peanut butter and apple slices
1 container of low-fat Greek yogurt and ½ cup frozen blueberries
1 cheese stick and whole wheat crackers, serving according to package
1 single serving of unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon sprinkle and 1 tbsp. of chopped almonds
2 cups of plain popcorn mixed with 1/4 cup nuts
1 slice of whole grain bread and 1 tbsp. of peanut or almond butter
1 cup smoothie made with greek yogurt, milk or alternative and frozen fruit
1 cup sliced bell peppers and cheese cubes
1 tbsp. each almonds, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, and chocolate chips
Half an English muffin and 1 tbsp. almond butter
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1 cup canned mandarin oranges
1 hard-boiled egg and whole-wheat crackers
½ cup of non-sugar cereal and low-fat milk
1 slice whole-wheat toast topped with 1 ounce of goat cheese and a small handful of raspberries
grapes and cheese cubes
The convenience of prepackaged snacks is tempting but be careful, as they are often high in sugar or fat.
For some really unusual snack ideas check out this link, Fun snack ideas
TODAY’S little STEP: Start snacking! Pay attention to your hunger and fuel your body with healthy food every 3 to 4 hours.
Remember – Every little step makes a difference!
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