No denying we all, healthy eaters or not, have had a snack attack at some point in recent history. Stress, being unprepared, soccer practice, meetings, and more have left us tired and hungry, which after a full day can lead to poor choices.
Views on snacking differ. Some feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain. Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight. If there were one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!
To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body. Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutrition, or because you are eating too little at meals. You might be snacking when the living room that was finally neat for 3 minutes has once again been turned into Legoland, or when you are stressed about how you are going to get your workout in with the 500 other things on your to-do list.
Snacks can be great energy boosters. Yet, many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars. When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious.
Here are some tips:
• Snack on things that don’t come in a plastic wrapper or a box, like fresh fruit or vegetables.
• Make your own signature trail mix, organic hot chocolate made with almond milk sweetened with agave nectar, organic yogurt with ripe fruit, steamed vegetables with tamari/shoyu sauce or blue corn chips with hummus or fresh guacamole.
You can also try “upgrading”:
• If you are craving something crunchy, upgrade from potato chips to raw carrots or apples.
• If you are craving a candy bar, upgrade to a handful of nuts, dried fruit, and raw cacao nibs.
• Instead of a cup of coffee, upgrade to green tea.
• Instead of ice cream, upgrade to applesauce with cinnamon.
Upgraded snacks are high in nutrition and give you a greater sense of satiety and satisfaction; you won’t feel physically or psychologically deprived, and you’ll have plenty of energy to sustain your activities for hours. I absolutely love Shaklee 180 snack bars when I'm on the run. Low glycemic for sustained energy, but yet satisfying. And beyond organic, so I know I'm not eating junk! Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.
Email me or comment below for a long list of my personal favorite snacks!
Sources & Additional Reading:
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, March 2011.
Rosenthal, Joshua. "Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness", February 2014.
http://www.eatthis.com, June 2017.