Most of us associate snacking with stuffing ourselves with extra calories. But do you know snacking in between meals is good for your health? The idea of snacking is to eat every two to three hours. Studies from the New England Journal of Medicine shows that snacking every three hours reduces the body’s cortisol by 17% in just two weeks. Increase in cortisol can cause intense hunger and food cravings and also increases the production of gastric acid. When chronic, it can lead to other intestinal problems.
Why is snacking so important?
- When you eat every two to three hours, you send out signals to your brain ensuring it that you are not under stress.
- Your blood sugar and insulin level will never dip below the fat burning zone.
- Snacking keeps your energy levels up.
- As your blood sugar levels remain steady, your craving for sugary foods and refined carbohydrates will stop.
It might be difficult sometimes to resist a box of chocolates or a packet of chips. But we need to know how much is too much. So, let’s take a look at some of the common snacking mistakes:
- Snacking on unhealthy food: Don’t end up eating an entire packet of crisps or chips or binge on sweets, buns and chocolates. You need to snack smart and not binge eat.
- Portion size is important: Don’t go for too big portions when you are snacking. It’s usually ideal to have about 200-250 calories while snacking. Snack sizes of 100-150 calories of you are trying to lose weight.
- Grazing is another snacking mistake: When you don’t pay attention to how much you are eating, you end up eating more. Watch out for what you are eating; measure out portion sizes and stick to it.
- Look out for food labels: Don’t forget to read the labels when you pick up your granola bars or low-fat gluten-free products. They can be all packed with hidden sugars.
- Added salt in nuts and popcorns: You may think that you are eating healthy but nuts are loaded with salts and popcorns have added butter. So, watch out before you lay your hands on any of these.
- Dipping healthy snacks with fat traps like mayonnaise-based dips: You may be eating carrot sticks with mayonnaise, but your dip can actually contain a lot of calories. So, opt for dips like humus when you are snacking.
- Dipping unhealthy snacks with healthy dips can also add to your calories.
- Drowning your food in olive oil: Presuming olive oil to be healthy, you may sometimes put lots of oil in your food, which will add to your calorie intake.
- Night time snacking after restriction throughout the day can also be harmful. The key is to eat little but often through the day.
Suggestive Reading: 6 Short On Time Snacks That Fuel Your Body Right
There are ways to snack healthy and here are some tips that you can follow:
- Snack on fruits and vegetables.
- Aim for 3g (minimum) of fibre to increase satiety
- Keep pre-packed snacks in your bag and desk drawer.
- Pair protein with carbohydrates such as nuts with an apple.
- Eat fruits that take longer to eat like oranges, pomegranates and pistachio nuts.
- Focus on your food when you are eating and thoroughly enjoy your snacks. Don’t eat when you are distracted, you will end up in mindless eating.
- When you crave for another biscuit even after you’ve had your portion size, just go and brush your teeth.
- Nibble on frozen fruits like blueberries as they last longer and are very healthy.
- Control what’s in the cupboard. Don’t keep sugary snacks in the house.
It is not necessary for you to follow a detailed menu, but it is crucial that you eat three meals in a day, along with in between the meals snacking. Just remember that snacking is ideal for all ages and it keeps you healthy, but don’t overindulge!
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