Snacking: essential or non-essential?

Let's be honest. Finding healthy snacks is a daunting task.

Is snacking necessary though? Many of my clients have claimed to not be hungry enough to consider implementing snacking in their eating regimen.

Long answer short: snacking is absolutely necessary. The main reason is to keep the metabolism running. One catch: so long as you don't continue to over-eat at mealtimes. The golden rule for consumption is always to eat until you are about 80% full, even when it comes to snacking. Snacks should not fill you, merely hold you over until your next fueling.

To go along with this, snacking also helps prevent you from overeating at your next meal. Oftentimes, if we allow ourselves to become too hungry, all we can think about is food and as soon as that food touches our lips, see ya later self control! We have all been there, especially when the food is high in sugar, fat, salt, and/or carbohydrates. In essence, because those foods interact a certain way, chemically. with our brain, it affects our control on how much we ingest at that particular sitting. (More on that in an upcoming blog post!)

So, what is a good snack? Is any snack good enough?

I constantly see those 100 calorie packaged snacks....I tried a couple packages when they were first marketed to the public. Are they even satisfying? Other questions you may have: are they healthy? Do they contain any protein? If you have any additional questions, leave them in the comments below!

To answer the questions I have posed: No, they weren't satisfying. I, myself, considered opening another package right after finishing the last one. It is kind of like being on an airplane when you get those tiny packages of peanuts or pretzels. All it does is stimulate your appetite, or "wet your palate" and lead to craving more food, either salty or sweet depending on which one you chose to eat first.

So, 100 calories ingested and yet you are (likely) even hungrier than before, so you either reach for another packet or engage in an internal fight with your self-control.

I have great news -- there are PLENTY of much healthier, convenient, tasty, and satisfying snacks out there.

When deciding what is a healthy snack, try considering three simple things: 1) does it contain vitamins and minerals? 2) does it contain fiber? and 3) does it contain protein? These three things contribute to number of calories, nutrient content, and satiety value of a food.

In all reality though, and I completely understand (I'm human too) we want our snacks to taste good as well.

Should they be sweet or savory? The answer really depends on how you're feeling at the time you are getting ready to snack. Snacks are important for not only keeping your metabolism running and to ensure you eat less at meal times, but they also help prevent you from making an all-too-convenient trip to the vending machine for a candy bar or a small bag of chips. In the morning, or before you start your workday, pack one sweet and one savory snack so you can decide which one will most satisfy you at the time and prevent those detrimental slips of eating high-calorie, low-nutrient vending machine snack foods.

To conclude, if you haven't deduced it yourself yet, (healthy) snacking is essential.

If you're looking to get into the habit of eating healthy snacks, frequently, speed up the metabolism and go into fat-burning mode, inquire about the Optavia™ 5&1 Optimal Health™ Program. It will encourage you to develop the healthy habits of fueling your body regularly (every 2-3 hours) and also help you get to and maintain your goal weight! (along with the support of a FREE health coach)

Contact us for your FREE nutrition assessment. Find out how we can help you achieve your health related goals and develop sound, healthy habits for a lifetime of Optimal Health™.

Yours in health,

Valerie

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