Maintaining a healthy diet is probably harder today than it has ever been. Not because of a lack or food or even knowledge about it, but because of the fast-paced lives we all live, which prevent us from having the time to think about what we are using to fuel our bodies. But besides the three square meals you should be having every day, you should also be snacking. Yes, snacks are good for you – but only if you choose the right ones. So, let’s take a look at why we should all be snacking on the good stuff and how we can make it.
Why Should You Snack During The Day?
Some people might think that snacking is just adding extra calories to your total daily intake, and that you would do much better without snacks. But actually, snacks are what prevents you from overeating when the big meals come. If you don’t eat anything between lunch and dinner, you’re going to be starving and you’ll want to eat several portions of your dinner. This can easily be prevented by eating a small snack in between to stop the feeling of hunger and craving. Moreover, eating often in small portions will help your metabolism maintain a regular routine and work smoothly. When you are planning your next meal, you are planning it according to what you are feeling at that moment, meaning that, if you are hungry when ordering lunch because you haven’t had anything to eat since a porridge at 6am, you’ll order a much bigger portion, than if you order your food after you’ve nibbled on a snack.
Know What’s Going Into It
Far too often, when we say “snack” we think of easy-to-take sugary, processed foods. But it’s crucial that we know what’s going into all of our food, especially the things we eat more mindlessly, like snacks. One option is to try to stick to whole, organic foods. If you’re eating an apple, you know 100% what the ingredients are. But if you think that raw food tasted boring and you want to switch it up, you can prepare other things at home. If you have a good oven like one of the Bertazzoni ranges, you can prepare fruit and veggie chips with a healthy dip, small baked goods and so much more, right at home. Look online for fast and easy recipes that you can make in bulk, pre-portion and store for a while. If you think you will go for convenience over health, make the food convenient. Wash and chop your fruit, mix it with some nuts and store it in one-portion bags. It will help you control portions and allow you to grab and go.
Portions are not something that we can just gloss over. When talking about snacks, as we mentioned, a lot of people consume them mindlessly: while you’re on the computer, watching TV, running from A to B or doing any other small tasks. And when we don’t pay attention to what we are eating, we tend to eat a lot more than recommended. For example, if you buy a bag of trail mix and start eating from it, you probably won’t think about the fact that one bag contains two or even three full portions. This is why it’s important to portion out your snacks beforehand and not keep them in bulk. When portioning, a good rule of thumb is that one portion is the amount of food that fits in one hand. Portion out your food, put it in small containers and it will be much easier not to overeat.
Yes, one of the best options for snacks is fruit, but you can do so much with it: eat it raw, make a smoothie, bake it into chips or dip it in almond butter. But of course, fruit isn’t the only option: fresh veggies cut into sticks are perfect for nibbling, and even things like baked goods (think banana muffin, not chocolate croissant) can give you a boost of energy on a very busy day. Remember to schedule your snacks just like you would schedule any other meal and keep healthy snack in places where you tend to usually eat them, like your desk or your car. Remember that the farmer’s market will always give you a better option than a vending machine and that the better you eat, the better you will feel.
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.