Snacks On Snacks
It can strike without warning, sitting at your desk, running errands, even while picking up the kids. You want a snack. Maybe you’re really hungry. Maybe you’re just bored. Whatever the reason, you know you’ll give in. It’s Ok. Go ahead. Have a snack!
I wasn’t always a believer in the power of the snack until I got my fitness specific nutrition certification. The problem isn’t the snacking itself. In fact, snacks are essential to keep your metabolism at a high rate. The problem is what people often choose to eat for a snack.
Just like you have to plan to eat healthy, you have to plan to snack healthy. Since the urge for a snack often creeps up out of nowhere you need a game plan. You want to be sure that what you grab truly fuels you, giving you the energy you need.
Let me give you the skinny on snacking and lay out a few rules that can help keep you on track.
Rule #1 First, get it out of your head that a snack has to be sweet.
Snacks do not have to contain sugar. Back when I was growing up, a typical snack was a cookie, or, in my case, cinnamon toast. Fortunately, we know better now. Also, be aware of why you are snacking. Sleep deprivation and stress can cause us to want to snack. Try getting up and taking a walk. If that doesn’t curb the craving, then your body probably needs to eat.
Rule #2 Make nuts a go to snack.
Raw, unsalted nuts are a healthy choice. My wife, Morgan, and I buy them in bulk! Nuts have been linked to lower cholesterol, better heart health and even lower cancer risk. Almonds are my favorite. They offer some unique benefits to your blood sugar. When eaten with bread, almonds actually lower glycemic index. That means if you add a little almond butter to your toast in the morning it will lessen the bread’s impact on your blood sugar level! Walnuts are another great choice. Just one quarter cup of walnuts gives you 90 percent of the daily recommended value of omega 3 fats. If you’re still worried about the fat content and want a nut with the lowest amount of fat, grab a handful of Cashews.
Rule #3 No boxed or bagged snacks.
Instead, make your own. This protein brownie recipe is a great one! By making your own snacks you can control the ingredients and the calories you consume. Measure out the correct portion size and put them in small containers or bags. Store-bought energy bars, smoothies and trail mix can contain a lot of calories and sugars. The right snack can actually help you reduce your caloric intake at your next meal by curbing over-eating. That way, adding snacks to your day can help you subtract pounds!
Rule #4 Night time snacking.
This one might surprise you. You’ve probably heard you should never snack at night but I say night snacking is OK. However, I do suggest staying away from refined sugars late at night. Opt for apples, or carrot sticks. Bananas loaded with fiber and relaxing tryptophan (you know the stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy) is also a good option.
The most important factor in losing weight is staying within your recommended daily calorie allotment. If you are over your calorie intake for the day then no night-time snack. As long as you are within your range it’s fine. The danger in night time snacking is that we often snack because we are bored, or stressed, not because we are hungry. Emotional eating quickly leads to overeating so make sure you eat mindfully and don’t snack while you are watching TV or sitting at the computer. When we are distracted, our brain barely registers the hand-to-mouth motion and before you know it, those few chips turn into a whole bag!
The reality is you are going to snack sometimes. As long as you are snacking for the right reasons, watching your calorie intake, and choosing fueling options – snack away!
Head on over to our Facebook to watch Morgan and I go live! We’ll be talking about everything from fitness to nutrition!