Snacking. Is it good or bad? The difference between snacking as a bad habit and it satisfying hunger between meals is in the timing. Snacking emotionally and mindlessly throughout the day can add extra calories and weight gain, but a snack strategically placed between meals and planned ahead of time can aid in weight management.
Snacking not only can prevent overeating at our next meal, it can assist with blood sugar control and give us satisfaction and enjoyment.
A good snack is carb-smart and is paired with a protein. When searching for the perfect carb-smart snack, keep fiber in mind. Fiber helps fill us up, curbing our cravings.
A perfect example of this is fresh fruit vs. fruit juice. In comparison, one cup of juice and one medium piece of fruit have the same amount of carbs, about 20 grams. On the other hand, a cup of juice has no fiber and the fruit has 4 to 5 grams of fiber, making it a good source of fiber and providing you something that will really make a difference in filling you up.
What do you pair with your fruit? Ideally, a good protein source. Protein also contributes to filling up your stomach. We should be shooting for at least 5 grams of protein in a snack.
Great examples of this include a hard-boiled egg, a cheese stick or 2 tablespoons of nut butter; they all provide us with 6 to 8 grams of protein.
When looking for a good snack here are some suggestions: Snacks that are between 150 and 200 calories, low in added sugar, around 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates, at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
The perfect snack would fit within these parameters. Aim for a snack that fits three of the five suggestions. If the package says 1 serving but doesn’t fit within these parameters, try splitting the package or choosing something different.
Make your snack save the day with these simple tips and tricks. A good rule of thumb is to always be prepared. Try not to leave the house without a snack. This allows you plenty of time to scout out the best options that fit within your lifestyle.
Granola bars or a trail mix are affordable and easy to throw in a purse or bag and take with you. Watch out for high-carb, high-calorie bars, and make sure you include a protein source in your trail mix such as almonds!
You’re starving and you forgot your snack - what do you do? Many convenience stores have healthy choices such as fruit and cheese cups, yogurt, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and popcorn.
Do some refrigerator and cupboard searching and prepare yourself a better-for-you snack. Try hummus and veggies, half a multi-grain English muffin and peanut butter and Greek yogurt with chopped nuts or this great recipe for Roasted Chickpeas.