Ok so, as promised, here are some things to consider when snacking. Do you ever grab a snack only to be shaky and hungry an hour later? Just because something is small in size and doesn’t fill you up does not mean it is low in calories. So many “snacks” are full of sugar, bad fats and very few nutrients. It is true that eating many small meals throughout the day will boost your metabolism and make it easier to lose weight, but it’s quite important to remember that those small meals should be nutritious, not just full of empty calories.
Here is a list of common snack problems I see:
- 100 calorie packs: These “all the rage” snack options may be low in calories, but they’re full of empty ones. What do I mean? Well if you’re eating 100 calories of simple sugars, processed flour and no real protein or substance those snack packs will leave you feeling hungry and you’ll be headed for a sugar crash. It is better to consume two or three hundred calories full of protein, fiber and nutrients to keep you running longer.
- Donuts or cookies: Have a cookie now and then- go for it. But here’s the deal, snacking on things like donuts or cookies is tricky. They may not have an overwhelming amount of calories a piece, but they will not fill you up. What will happen is you will casually grab another and another or you’ll end up eating again in no time because of the sugar crash or fatigue they leave you with.
- Fruit: Here’s a tricky one! Most people will grab a piece of fruit as a healthy snack when they are feeling hungry. It is true that your diet should have plenty of fruits and veggies in it, but consider this. An apple contains the equivalent of more than 5 tsp. of sugar and no protein. So even though it’s all natural vitamin packed sugar, you’ll still be left with a sugar crash in an hour! Be sure to pair fruit with protein to snack on.
- Cheese sticks: Cheese sticks are a popular snack that are pretty tricky. While they are not the worst for you (provided they’re not dyed orange) The all natural ones are pretty high in calories and it takes 2-3 to fill you up.
- Children’s snacks! Isn’t it strange that the demographic that requires the most nutritionally is getting the least from their snacks and food product? Friends, I simply cannot fit everything I have to say regarding children’s snacks into this blog, but please be advised that the snacks and food products for that matter marketed towards children are generally speaking loaded with sugar, corn syrup, white flour, artificial colors and flavorings and a variety of preservatives! These are empty calories made for the people who need their calories to be packed with nutrients in order to grow.
So here’s what you should be looking for in a snack:
- Healthy, natural, preferably few ingredients.
- Low sugar
- High protein
- High Fiber
- High in nutrients
Examples of good snacks are:
- Carrots with hummus
- Apples with Almond butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Banana with walnuts
- Plain Greek yogurt with berries
Don’t spend hundreds of calories a day on unhealthy snack products! Don’t assume that children’s snack packets are healthy. Snack smart, friends and your body will thank you!