What about snacks?
This is a topic that many of my clients ask me about. I believe snacking can absolutely be part of a healthy diet – but it comes down to the quality and quantity of the snacks!
The way I like to approach snacking is really asking ourselves why are we motivated to munch … Bored? Hungry? Tired? Many different situations and emotions can trigger snacking so being mindful of what and why you are eating is a great place to start.
If you are bored, tired, anxious or stressed and not physically hungry, ask yourself whether or not you need a snack. Sometimes our bodies mistake thirst for hunger so making sure that you are adequately hydrated can help to avoid the confusion between hunger and thirst. Listening to your own hunger cues and being mindful of why you are snacking is important. If around 11AM you can hear your stomach grumble, chances are you are physically hungry and could benefit from a healthy snack. If you find yourself reaching for the some crisps or chocolate while you watch TV shortly after dinner, perhaps the snack is not necessary. Next time you are reaching for a snack, ask yourself “What in this food will fuel my body and how will it make me feel after?”
Keep healthy, convenient snacks within reach to avoid purchasing or over-eating a less healthy snack. Nutritious snacks are a great way to fuel your body to avoid energy slumps that we often experience throughout the day. Having consistent energy levels can help prevent overeating at your next meal.
Planning and portioning out your snacks can help you snack smarter and avoid overindulging between meals. What are the snacks that can give us a boost? Pairing protein and fibre is a great combo. Protein helps us feel more satisfied after eating it, so it can prevent you from reaching for more food than you need. Fibre provides bulk to the food without adding calories, keeping us feeling fuller longer. Some examples are: Fruit and nuts (for example apple and almonds), Greek yogurt with berries or Whole grain crackers and cottage cheese.
Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to snacking, as well as meal and workout planning. Whether you should snack or not depends on your goals; Are you active, an athlete, going for glycemic control or focused more on body weight than performance?
The bottom line - Proper snacking can assist with weight management, increase metabolism, optimise energy, improve blood sugar control, reduce sugar cravings, better control hunger levels, and improve overall health. It’s all about quality and quantity.
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