Snacking oftentimes gets a bad name as many people associate snacking with excess eating or unneeded calories. But for me and my family, snacking is a way to fit in those extra small “meals” each day so I don’t overindulge in one sitting. Snacking gets me through the day, keeping my energy levels up and brain focused.
However the key to snacking is to learn how to do it right…healthy.
First let’s address some common snack myths: snacks ruin your appetite, snacks are just junk food and healthy snacks aren’t convenient.
Snacks ruin an appetite. Snacking doesn’t mean you have to eat until you are full. A small snack before mealtime can be a good thing so you aren’t walking into mealtime starving, therefore overeating during your meal and slowing down your metabolism. A healthy, smart snack before a meal is just fine and most of the time, a smart idea.
Snacks are only junk food. Not true! There are great things to snack on to keep your body energized and moving all day. Fruit, low fat yogurt, vegetables, and almonds – those are just a few. Just try to avoid overly processed foods or foods high in trans fats.
Healthy snacks aren’t convenient. Also not true, it just takes a bit of planning. Instead of relying on the vending machine at work, keep a few healthy snacks in your drawer at work or at home such as peanut butter and crackers, nuts, dried soybeans. Or if you have refrigerator access, store items such as cottage cheese, string cheese, fruit or veggies & dip.
For me snacking is part of a healthy lifestyle. Your body will tell you when you are hungry, so if your stomach starts to growl or you need a 3 p.m. pick-me-up (an “after school snack” in my house), just think twice before reaching for a candy bar or bag of chips, and instead grab something that will do your body, metabolism and appetite good.
What are your favorite, convenient, healthy snacks you reach for? What about for your kids?