You’ve been rushing around most of the day, and hunger strikes at you when you’re between lunch and dinner, in the situation where it’s not convenient to settle down for a solid meal. But that’s no problem, you go for a snack and everything is resolved quickly and efficiently. But is it really all right and what we have snacked on goes in perfect agreement with our health? Here’s opinions from nutrition experts about how to calm down your grumbling stomach with the right kind of snacks.
Are You Really Hungry?
But first of all, Heather Bauer, R.D., urges you to ask yourself whether you really are in bad need of a snack? You’d better ask yourself again, for while with some people snacks are a necessity, with others it’s just a habit. Talking to HuffPost, Bauer said that snacks help about 50% of people to keep their metabolic functioning properly, regulate sugar level in the blood and control their meals better, but the rest only build up daily calories intake.
When It’s Better to Avoid Snacking
There are people for whom taking little portions of food regularly is rendered necessary by diseases like hypoglycemia or diabetes, but if it’s not your case, consider your next meal – how does the snack affect it? If you are inclined to eat less and it becomes more like the next snack, maybe the best bet would be to stifle the current desire and wait until you get a proper meal.
Sweets as a Snack?
Then again, you can catch a glimpse of a sweetie that makes your mouth water, and tell yourself it’s time you gave yourself a little treat of a small pack of nuts or a chocolate bar. Well, as a rule you eat healthfully, why not go for something for your sweet tooth?
Think again, is the advice from Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. With a snack you can be sure of filling your empty stomach and give you that added energy to make it through to the next meal; a treat will do neither.
Make Sure Your Snack Is As Healthy as Possible
Now you’ve decided on a snack. You mean to have it as healthy as possible, and the first idea is to chomp on an apple or pear and leave it at that. Not bad, says Cheryl Forberg, R.D to HuffPost, but better still if coupled with some protein. Add to it some cheese, almond butter, or even a slice or two of meat. Protein will control the insulin level by slowing down the release of sugar into the blood. It prevents drops of energy caused by insulin (which make you want to have another snack as soon as possible) and gives you a feeling of satiety.
Choose a Balanced Snack
Still, Blatner adds, an all-protein snack is not great, you also need hydration and fiber.
What is definitely to be avoided, Blatner reminds further, is mindless eating. If you fill up your mouth in order to slide through your current tasks more easily, punching information into the PC or reading your emails – oh yes, and when watching TV – you get no pleasure from it, a mere feeling of a full stomach without really needing it.
Control Your Snack Portion
And the final bit of advice is to mind your portion! Happy to have chosen the best way to snack health-wise, you can go too heavy on your food and still pile up calories and saturated fats, play havoc with your sugar level. Blatner has a special term for it – health-halo snacking, when you get your multigrain chips and can’t stop munching because once you’ve congratulated yourself with a healthy choice you break loose and stuff yourself.
A wholesome choice alone is not enough, Heather Bauer, R.D., seconds the opinion. Her advice is to make sure you buy a single package or a special bag to measure out your portion.