• Deanne Pandey

To snack or not to snack?

Healthy eating requires planning while snacking arises out of spontaneity. It strikes you in your weakest moments that are often followed by regret. Having a game plan, however, can turn those grab-and-go moments into opportunities to eat well, conquer our worst urges, and pump up our energy. This is where healthy snacking coms into the picture. Choosing your snacks smartly and having them mindfully can bring drastic changes to your routine.

Keep these rules in mind the next time you feel like grabbing some snacks.

1. Do not starve

When your body is deprived of food for a period longer than three to six hours, it enters into starvation mode. That's also when your blood sugar starts to dip. During this phase your metabolism decreases, cravings increase and chemical called Neuropeptide is produced that triggers the need for carbohydrates. Thus, starvation increases your craving for junk.

2. Include the three snack star nutrients

The three key nutrients for the ideal snack are not sugar, salt and fat. You can have fat, and should have fat in fact, but make sure it’s a healthy fat – think nuts, avocado/guacamole, hummus, olives, etc. Also try to include protein and fiber. This dream trio will help to keep you full and stabilize blood sugar levels, meaning no energy crashes later.

3. Choose wholesome foods

Even though the healthier packaged snacks may be comprised of good ingredients, all too often these commercially produced snacks come with added sugars, sodium, and other unnecessary ingredients. Try to make the bulk of your snack produce – which is nutrient-rich and will can fulfill your daily fruit and vegetable requirement.

4. Trick your belly

When it comes to feeling full, your eyes are as powerful as your stomach. The larger the portion, the fuller you expect to be. Opt for larger ‘looking’ portions so that you feel fuller. Foods filled with water or air, like snack puffs and soup, let you eat a lot

for fewer calories and still feel satisfied.

5. Strategise your arrangement

The more we see food, the more we want it, whereas out of sight means out of mind—and mouth. Use this to your advantage by placing healthy options, such as fruit, vegetables or a clear jar of trail mix, on your counter and stashing not so good for you junk in the back of the pantry.

6. Snack mindfully

For those of us sitting in front of a computer, the mindless snack is a blessing and a curse. It is a remarkable boredom alleviator, but it can also lead to overeating since you are likely not paying attention to whether or not you are full yet. Eating, is best to snack without distractions – computers, phones, TVs, even books.

Healthy snacking can be instrumental in balancing your cravings and your fitness goals. Keep these guidelines and incorporate them every time you crave for junk!

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