To snack or not to snack?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HEALTHY SNACKING: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
Snacking is indeed not a new thing. Potato chips were invented in 1853. So it’s been ages since things have gone downhill when it comes to the food industry. And as the demand for unhealthy snacks increases, so do our waistlines. Sadly, most of us turn towards unhealthy foods because we think they’re cheaper and easily accessible. And yes, to a certain extent they are. But no one thinks about the extremely expensive medical problems in the long run.
Its weird how snacking has taken over our lives, but it never was a part of our lives during our cavemen days. One square meal that compensated for all other meals of the day was usually enough for survival back then. But now, if you just look around your house, you can find more than 10,000 calories worth of food (mostly snacks).
How to not suck at snacking?
There are two ways you can go about with this:
1. Snack between meals, breaking up all your meals into smaller meals so that you make sure you’re not overeating and your metabolism is constantly active and firing. The goal with this approach is to constantly eat snacks (obviously healthy snacks) between meals so that you’re not tempted to eat too much when you’re having your actual meals. Because at the end of the day, it’s the total number of calories you’ve consumed that make a difference. So by consuming snacks you can actually curb your appetite so that you eat less during regular meals.
2. You don’t snack at all! People tend to snack relentlessly and then consume regular sized meals, which later leads to weight gain. So instead of focusing on snacking, you can just focus on consuming complete filling meals. Eat until you’re full and don’t eat anything till your next meal.
The problem with the second approach is that it may end up screwing up your metabolism to a certain extent. And also you’ll probably crave snacks even more in a situation like that. So we’re running out of options here and the first approach is indeed a better option.
But here’s the catch. You can snack all day only if you’re willing to replace all your old unhealthy junk with healthy foods.
What are healthy snacks?
If you firmly rely on snacking, then here’s a list of some healthy snacks for you:
• Veggies: Now vegetables might seem boring and maybe instruments of torture for you. But they are extremely nutrient dense and have a very low caloric value. You can make your veggie snacking adventures much more interesting by dipping vegetable sticks in nut butter, baba ganouj or hummus or just close your eyes and chow down a bowl full of asparagus.
• Fruits: Now fruits are definitely not as bad as vegetables when it comes to the taste. Just stock up all your favorite foods every once in a while and cut yourself a quick fruit salad every time you want to snack. The best thing about fruits is that they contain natural sugar. So fruits will help you keep your insulin functioning properly thus preventing diabetes and at the same time you’ll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth.
• High Protein Snacks: If you find yourself feeling extremely hungry between meals, then there’s no way other small things can kill that hunger. In such a situation, a quick protein shake or beef jerky would be your best bet. Protein bars or grilled chicken breasts are also a good option if you need a filling healthy meal. Hard boiled eggs are also a great source of protein and it hardly takes a few minutes to boil them.
• Seeds and Nuts: Sunflower seeds, pistachios, pepitas, roasted soybeans, freeze dried or dehydrated fruits and veggies can be eaten quickly and are easily available. But just be careful with seeds and nuts. They're easier to eat quickly and you wind up scarfing down 1000 calories in the blink of an eye.
A lot of snacks may be marketed as healthy but are nothing but a bunch of grains stuck together with some sugar concoction (if you know what I’m talking about). Hint: Granola Bars!!
Try to be more aware about how your body reacts to different types of meals and different meal times and plan your snacks accordingly. Before snacking, just ask yourself: Are you bored? Are you actually hungry? Are you just thirsty? Are you eating enough breakfast or lunch?
The more you’re aware of your body, the better chance you’ll have at achieving your fitness goals.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.”
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