Having a snack here and there between meals… is it beneficial or harmful to your weight management plan? It’s a subject that many people debate – including nutritionists, healthcare professionals and individuals actively trying to make changes for a healthier lifestyle.
Although there are no “set rules,” snacking has the potential to be an excellent tool for keeping your weight and health on track. The key is to be mindful of what you’re eating and how much of it you’re consuming.
Each Snack Can be Healthy: Changing Our Perception
It’s no wonder that snacks oftentimes have a bad reputation. In Western society, the vast majority of snacks are highly-processed and packed with artificial ingredients. Examples include chips, crackers, granola bars, cookies, etc. However, those aren’t the only options available to you! Our perception of snacks need to change; they can be powerful to our weight management plan if found in their most natural form. For example, consider:
- Fruits – Dried or as-is
- Vegetables – Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and snap peas make great snacking foods
- Nuts – Unsalted, unflavored
- Low-fat Dairy – Cheese slices, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, etc.
How Can Snacking be Beneficial to My Goals?
Snacking can provide many physical and mental benefits that are often overlooked:
- Curb Your Cravings – Healthy snacking intermittently between meals can help you resist the urge to choose food that is lacking in nutrition your body can benefit from.
- Reduce Hunger – Small portions of healthy foods throughout the day will regulate your hunger levels, and thus it may help you to avoid overeating.
- Improve Your Brain Power – Do you ever lose focus as the day goes on? Snacking on nutritious foods can sharpen your focus and boost your ability to concentrate.
- Gain Energy – As with regular meals, snacks can give you added energy throughout the day if you choose foods that are rich with protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
It’s All about the Plan
One of the major problematic areas with snacks is a lack of planning. Think about it: if you’re hungry, where do you turn to for food? For many people, it’s what’s readily available – and unfortunately, foods that are readily available are often high in calories and rich with ingredients that aren’t necessarily nutritious.
So, how do you set yourself up for snacking success?
- Purchase in Advance – Load up your grocery cart with whole foods that are great for snacking. Then, you’ll have a healthy reservoir to choose from when you’re hungry or need a boost of energy between meals.
- Have Your Healthy Snacks On-hand – Don’t go anywhere empty-handed if you think you may need to eat. A lunchbox or snack kit that you prepare in the morning or the day before can be your best friend.
- Keep it Mindful – When you feel the need to eat, be aware of your body and your surroundings. Are you snacking because you’re hungry or feeling weak? Bored, sad or anxious? Being conscious of these factors can help you eat what you need, and when you to need to.
Want More Information on Snacks and Nutrition?
You can view the full article from Your Weight Matters Magazine by CLICKING HERE.