Is snacking good or bad for you?
We tend to get two opposing sides. One being that snacks and smaller meals can improve health and prevent overeating. The other, that cutting out snacks is beneficial because it decreases energy intake.
As with most all or nothing nutrition claims, it depends on you! Snacking is not inherently bad, but it should come from a place of listening to your hunger and fullness cues and being mindful in your actions. We run into trouble when we mindlessly munch and make food choices based on situation and mood rather than body cues. Listening to your body should always come first, as with all things.
Often times when we try to stop snacking we turn to non-food strategies (water, seltzer, gum) to curb hunger and cravings. Been there, done that and I can tell you it doesn't last for very long. When you are hungry, shakey, or headachey your body is usually asking for food. The longer and more frequently you try shut down your hunger cues, the harder it will be to keep the cues around. Trust me, you want your hunger around, it is a sign that your metabolism is functioning the way it should be. There is no shame in being hungry.
I whole-heartedly believe in snacks. Snacks help me stay focused, prevent hanger, headaches, shakiness from low blood sugar, keep my mood up, fuel me through activity, and prevent the fridge binge after work (read this post for more on that). Stop listening to what google tells you, or what your friends tell you, or what that meal plan you're following tells you (truthfully that can go in the trash) and instead listen to your body for the answers.
I am keeping it simple today and sharing my personal snack favorites. Yes, you can go to Pinterest and find any number of creative, cute snacks, but lets be real - most of us don't have time for that. If you're anything like me you need snacks that can travel, that can be purchased in quantities to last all week, and that require next to no prep. Adding snacks is a great way to get in more nutrition like extra fruits, veggies, and healthy fats, too. Snacking doesn't need to mean a trip to the vending machine. Pick one simple snack below to try out this week and let me know how it goes!
1. Chicken or tuna salad.
2. Hard boiled eggs.
3. Carrots + peanut butter.
4. Hummus + chips.
5. Jerky + dried fruit.
6. Half PB&J sandwich. Bonus points for adding banana slices.
7. Trail mix. Make it yourself using dry cereal, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips.
8. Homemade muffin or loaf. I prefer zucchini bread!
9. Squash or sweet potato + nut butter.
10. Cold oatmeal + raisins.
11. Chia seed pudding + strawberries.
12. Yogurt + granola. You know siggi's is my jam.
13. Granola bars. My favs include KIND, Larabar, or DIY.
14. Banana + sunflower seed butter tortilla roll ups.
15. Cold cut roll ups.
16. Crackers or rice cakes + cheese stick.
17. COPs. This is a great idea shared with me by a former client: cheddar cheese, olive, pineapple on a toothpick - I swear it's delicious.
Ready to give snacking another try? I promise - your mind and tummy will be happier!