I am a major advocate for ‘smart snacking’. When it comes to snacks, there are 2 common mistakes I see people making.
1. Choosing convenience over quality. Potato chips, fruit snacks or bread sick and cheese dips are marketed as snacks and are definitely easy to grab out of a vending machine but they are not providing your body with quality fuel. It is like putting diesel into a gasoline car, your body will not run at its best.
2. Only eating a carbohydrate choice such as a piece of fruit, vegetables or a homemade muffin.
There are many reasons why snacking is good for you. One is it helps to regulate or control your blood sugar levels which in turn will help us fight cravings and fatigue. When we provide our body fuel every 2 ½ – 3 hours, we allow our metabolism to stay stable and we become more efficient at using the food we provide our bodies. So how can we snack ‘smart’?..
These are 3 tips for snacking smart:
1. Always balance your snacks with a carbohydrate source and a protein source. By adding a protein to your snack, it will help you to feel fuller for longer, fight cravings and if you are active, it continues the recovery process. This means we are including either a fruit, vegetable, grain or milk/milk alternative product for a carbohydrate and balancing that with a protein source. Examples include:
- Apple and nut butter
- Berries and Greek yogurt
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Raw vegetables and hummus
2. Aim to have either a snack or a meal every 2 ½ to 3 hours. I understand that work or life can be busy and sometimes we do not get 30 minutes to eat lunch. The way to ensure you are still providing your body fuel is to always have a carbohydrate and protein snack on hand. Ideally, we will eat 3 meals a day and have 2 snacks a day. If this cannot happen every day, ensure that you are at least eating a balanced snack every 2 ½ to 3 hours.
3. If you need quick and convenient options, plan your snacks ahead of time so you know you can grab and go when necessary. Boil a dozen eggs on Sunday night so they are in the fridge ready to go for the week; cut your vegetables up and put them into bags right when you get home from the grocery store; portion out nuts and fruit for the week. If granola bars are a must in your house, ensure there is less than 8g sugar and at least 3g of fiber. If you plan your snacks out ahead of time, you are more likely to choose quality snacks.
Making these changes to your daily routines will make a major difference in how you feel throughout the day. Do not expect yourself to pick up these habits right away; change takes time. Set small goals for yourself each week and challenge yourself to trying new recipes so that you do not get bored with your food. My date balls or granola bars are great snacks that can be made on a weekend to have for the week. To find those recipes click the link below. Happy Snacking!