Do you like to snack? I sure do!
The USDA reports that the average person consumes 1/4 of his calories from snacks.
Snacking can have a huge impact on your health. Choose wisely and you can definitely improve the quality of your diet.
Choose Unwisely and you may find yourself gaining unwanted weight. Snacking on unhealthy foods like potato chips and doughnuts can lead to excessive weight gain and a myriad of health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Now there are a few benefits to snacking (thank goodness!). Some of these benefits include:
Snacking provides an opportunity to consume nutrient dense foods.
Snacking helps one sustain an optimal blood sugar level, which can lead to improved energy levels.
Snacking decreases your sense of hunger, which can lead to smarter nutritional choices.
Snacking after exercise can increase energy and speed up muscle recovery.
Snacking can lead to optimal weight management.
There are several things one should consider when deciding to snack.
1. A snack should be no more than 100-200 calories
2. Snacks should include:
A complex carbohydrate for energy
A protein for satiety
A little bit of fat for flavor
3. There should be 2-3 hours between snacks and meals to help keep blood sugar levels consistent.
Some ideas for great snacks include:
1 cup of skim chocolate milk and 5 strawberries
1/2 cup of whole sheet cereal with 1/2 cup almond milk
1 ounce of low fat cheese and 10 grapes
Raw vegetables with hummus
1/2 whole wheat english muffin with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1/2 banana
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese with blueberries
Keep in mind, that the main danger in snacking is that it can add extra calories to your day.
Making sure you budget those calories into your daily intake is how you can make sure the benefits of snacking don’t “bite you in the behind”. If you know what I mean.