Monday, July 27, 2009

Smart Snacking

Snacking is something I tend to do a lot. I am consistently teased by my friends for my bag of snacks or protein bars that I carry everywhere I go. Funny thing is...I end up sharing my snacks with everyone since they suddenly realize they are hungry when they see me eating.
Snacking can become a way of life if you have blood sugar issues like I do.

Even if you don't have blood sugar issues you can benefit from snacking as your blood sugar levels are constantly fluctuating according to what you eat... or don't eat. It also turns out that eating several small meals throughout the day is an exceptional way to maintain a healthy diet, conquer cravings, stay lean, and get all of your daily nutrient requirements.

Here is some info on snacking habits:

1. Eating three meals a day with two or three snacks in
between meals can make your
metabolism more efficient.

It's as if you are continually adding fuel to to the fire
that is your metabolism.
The idea is to never let your energy wane or go without a bite
for so
long that you get ravenous.

2. Snacking helps you eat less at mealtime!

This works especially well between the hours of 2pm and 7pm .
You can have two small
snacks during this period.
You will find you will eat less at dinner.

Choose a snack that has about 100 - 200 calories with a healthy
balance of protein,
carbohydrates, and healthy fat. This combo will balance your blood sugar which will in turn keep you satisfied. * * If your snack is high in refined carbs or sugar,
your blood sugar levels
will jump (yay!) and then crash and burn (yuck!)...
leaving you feeling tired and even more

3. Snacking helps fill your body with your daily vitamin requirements.

This is a huge advantage for most of us as it is extremely
difficult to fulfill our daily
nutrient requirements within 3 meals.
As an example, snack on low fat plain yogurt with a

handful of almonds/walnuts to add additional calcium to your diet
(the nuts add additional protein and fiber). Plus, with this snack
you are getting a perfect ratio of carb/protein/fat.
Also, try to include a fruit or vegetable in
every meal or snack.
Try dipping cucumbers or celery in hummus,
or eat an apple or celery
sticks with your favorite nut butter.
By adding veggies you will consume less calories while
additional antioxidants to your diet. Perfect Combo!

4. Snacking puts you in a good Mood!

This is important for most people. I know it is important for me!
When blood sugar starts to
wane, we can become irritable and have
trouble concentrating. Most of the time we don't
realize our blood sugar
is low, we just think the world around us is exceptionally irritating.
I am a prime example of this: I was recently deemed "snappy" by my
nephew on a morning drive in Hawaii...actually I heard a few cat hiss
sounds from mynephew and my brother as they described my behavior
to our surf instructor that morning. Not flattering, but funny! I had not eaten breakfast yet and it was 9:30 am...apparently not a good combo for me. A few bites of
food brought me back to normal. Next time
you get this feeling stop
and ask yourself when you ate last.
Try a snack that includes the
carb/fat/protein combo.
Your mood will lift and your energy will rise enabling you to tackle
your day....and the people
around you will be much happier and oh so grateful!

Here are a few snack suggestions:

3/4 cup of shelled edamame 150 calories 12 grams of protein

Protein bar choose a bar with a low sugar content and at least 6 grams of protein

Hummus and veggies

Apple with nut butter, or a handful of nuts

Low fat cheese and veggies

Whole grain waffle with nut butter.... One of my FAVS!

Hard Boiled egg

Whole grain bread or english muffin with nut butter

Cottage cheese with fruit and nuts

Start Snacking People!


Stacy said...

Nice post Judi! I've always been a big snacker. I can even remember breaking into my lunch in high school much earlier than lunch! I really do think this is the way we are meant to eat! I eat many of the snacks you mentioned. Chips and salsa are also a big hit in our house!

Take care! Hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Anonymous said...

I've always been a snacker too and allow my girls to be the same. I keep lots of healthy snacks on hand throughout the day and never enforce the "clear your plate" mentality at meal times. As long as they're eating, and as long as they are getting good nutritious food throughout the day, that's what's important.