The Truth About Snacking
If you lead a busy life, like most of us do, the temptation for snacking is always around us. The problem is generally due to a disturbed routine such as running out of the door in the morning without breakfast or skipping lunch due to an urgent meeting. Ideally, we should be sitting down to three meals per day and taking our time with each of them. The harsh reality is of course, it’s not always possible. Life often tends to get in the way.
So, exactly how bad is snacking?
It depends. If you’re randomly snacking on food as you go, it has the potential to be very bad. If you are snacking on healthy food, it’s obviously much better. Many people look for the sugar rush to get them through the day. This will give you a quick “feel good” factor, which will only last a few moments and will result in you piling on the pounds. It will also make you less likely to feel the need for healthy food which can result in a downward spiral into regular unhealthy eating habits.
The truth about snacks
The fact is that if you know you’ll be wanting a snack during the day and you plan ahead, it can actually be good for you. If you can work in your daily portions of fruit and veg, it’ll help you towards your five-a-day. It’ll help keep your hunger at bay, maintain your metabolism and help to stem cravings for unhealthy food. Three main meals plus two healthy snacks through the day is perfect. The between-meal snacks will also help to stop you overeating during your main meals.
How to snack
You need to think about what you’re eating. Planning ahead and picking snacks that will offer important nutrients as well as energy should be your aim. Ideally they should come from more than one food group. Make sure you change your snacks around too. If you get bored with the same treats, you might be tempted to go out and buy something a little less healthy.
What to snack on
The best kind of snacks are healthy ones which will leave you feeling full and satisfied. Fruit and nuts are great as are cereal bars and yoghurt. Most supermarkets have aisles packed with fresh snacks. Do limit yourself, of course. Don’t eat 5 cereal bars in the morning and expect to feel fit and ready for lunch. It is important to keep your portions appropriate to the food, as it is just a snack as opposed to a main meal.
Take some water too as this will not only keep you hydrated, it will also help to keep hunger at bay. Water is much better than coffee or tea. Fruit smoothies are also good, but make sure they’re not packed with sugary additives.