American’s are known as a snacking nation. The trend to eating every few hours has really caught fire. If you are going to snack you certainly want them to be healthy snacks that are also quick, easy and affordable.
The fitness industry suggests people eat every couple of hours to keep their metabolism going. Although this may be true, if it is not done correctly, it can easily derail your health goals. You want to be assured that all of your snacks contribute to your health as opposed to taking away from your health.
One health trap that consumers fall into is buying food that is marketed for snacking. Whole foods that are fresh and not out of a package are best. Even leftovers can act as a quick snack.
Try to avoid bars, candy and sugary snacks or crackers filled with white flour. Try grabbing some fruit or cut up veggies instead. The trick is to have them prepackaged ahead of time, This is where an ounce of prevention comes in handy. Before you even start your week, have some chopped veggies prepared in advance and put them into little baggies as portioned out snacks in containers.
Some of my favorite go-to fast snacks are fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. I prepare a bunch of protein balls to keep in the fridge to grab-and-go. Chia pudding cups, which can be eaten for snacks are also a great breakfast option as well. Protein is great for muscle recovery, concentration and helps to make you feel full longer.
When shopping for snacks, think fresh. One way to assure this is to shop the perimeter of the store first, This is where the freshest food resides. When shopping in the inner isles, have a shopping list in hand and stick to the necessary items on your list. Try to avoid snacks that come out of a bag, box or can as they are not as high in nutritional value. If you must purchase something pre-packaged, make sure you recognize every single ingredient on the box or bag and aim to find snacks that have 7 ingredients or less.
In general, is it necessary to snack? This is a great question and one where I would ask you to tune inwards. Ask yourself why you are eating. Are you genuinely hungry or are you in need of something else? Maybe it’s water, exercise, a good stretch, fresh air, or simply a hug. If you determine that you are indeed hungry, eat. Slow down and savor every bite. Food is meant to be enjoyed! Many of us fall into a trap of either shaming ourselves about eating or perhaps are distracted and just not thinking about it at all. Food is necessary for all of life. Eat like a king in the morning a queen at lunch and a peasant at dinner.
Calories are a unit of measure for energy. You need more calories during the day when you need more energy. Ironically most people eat the majority of their calories at night when they are getting ready for bed.
Snack, if needed, in-between meals and learn how to relax and enjoy your food again.