Dear readers, we must admit that most of us share the same feeling of guilt when we want to snack, but Don’t Fret!
Snacking is totally alright and is crucial to our well-being! You should not leave your stomach empty for a long period of time. If you do, chances are that you might overeat during meals (even unknowingly).
So snack yourself healthily between meals but make sure you snack once or twice a day, eat enough well-balanced food with the right amount of whole wheat carbohydrates (high in fiber) and of protein (to give the sensation of being full) and stay away from fatty, sugary and high caloric foods.
The best part of it all is that healthy snacking is not all that difficult. You just have to have willpower and follow a few simple tricks (secretsJ) to enjoy the diverse benefits of health snacking:
1- The impulse to grab a crunchy, fatty or sugary snack takes between 3 and 8 minutes, so if you can distract yourself during this time you’ll win the fight!
Notice that when you are eating and the phone suddenly rings and you talk for 15 minutes or so, the urge to continue your meal is lost. So if you don’t have the self-control to say no to your favorite snack, go walk the dog! Talk on the phone, or do anything that gets your hands busy and away from the high calorie snack!
2- Another important secret is to keep healthy options always readily available at home. Keep your fingers near to baby carrots, cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflowers, artichokes, bell peppers, celery sticks, apples, berries, fresh salad mixes, and other vegetable treats. Soups without a cream base can also be good snacks. So remove all high calorie snacks like biscuits, ice creams, and candies from home and keep your fridge and cupboards full of readily available healthy snacks.
3- Another trick can be also to have a journal and keep noting down whatever you eat during the day. This will help you control the number of time you snack and the portions you are eating at each meal. Also keep the food wrapping so you can actually see how much you’ve eaten (having all ice cream and high caloric chocolates packages assembled together every end of week will definitely deter you from eating more the following week).
4- It is so important not to snack while watching TV. When you are focusing on another activity and eating at the same time your body will not receive the signal that you are full from your brain and you will continue eating. An option would be to exercise while watching TV.
5- Yet another well-known but not much practiced practice is to brush your teeth when you feel like snacking on high calorie items, this will help so much as it might stop the urge of putting anything in your mouth.
6- It is very important to drink water when you feel hungry in the middle of the day or night as the body might misread thirst for hunger.
Whether you’re a sweet tooth or anywhere on the opposite spectrum, the below healthy and delicious suggestions will satisfy any snackoholic’s taste sensations and craving.
If your craving is sweet or creamy try light or frozen yogurt, ice tea, cranberry light juice, low calorie ice cream (100-150 kcal), moderate amounts of fruit, dried fruits, sugar-free pudding, JELLO, a 100-120 kcal chocolate bar or low calorie hot chocolate. You can also have a blend of low fat milk with two kinds of fruits, e.g. strawberry and banana.
If your craving is crunchy or salty try pretzels, popcorn, a handful of unsalted nuts, two whole wheat toasts with low fat cheese or turkey ham, a green apple with a very bit pinch of salt.
TIP: A 100-150 kcal snack between lunch and dinner will help you avoid eating uncontrollably at night.
A final note for the readers is to always choose items with protein for such foods satiate your hunger feelings and choose also items high in fiber as they tend not to quickly increase insulin levels in the blood keeping the hunger levels minimal.
Samia Khoury Dietitian
Samia Khoury Dietitian