Healthy snacks are underrated. But, snacking healthy is slowly getting more attention due to its many benefits.
Gone were the days when snacking was put under a bad light. The misconceptions about it are mostly caused by unhealthy food choices that could’ve been avoided. Today, it can be a way to squeeze in some extra nutrients that could optimize your diet.
You don’t always have to munch a box of doughnuts, or a pack of chips, for a snack. With smart snacking, you can use the chance to manage your hunger and lower your binge-eating tendencies. These are beneficial if your goal is to lose fats.
In this blog, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute adds more information about healthy snacks as was previously mentioned in this article. If you’ve started noticing unhealthy habits in snacking, especially when holidays are approaching, here’s an opportunity to change that.
Benefits of healthy snacks
Eating in between meals is enjoyable, but for those who can’t control their portion, this may mean trouble. Regardless, snacking can be a part of a healthy diet pattern if you only consume the right kinds of food. You can take it as one of the ways to obtain nutrients that your body needs to be even more functional and productive.
According to Blanchard Valley, an average American grabs a snack at least twice a day, and that makes up one-quarter of their total calories. Thus, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact snacking may have on your body. When you are careful with what you eat, it can work to your advantage. However, if you focus on junk food, you’ll most likely gain weight and worse – other health issues that may lead to problems.
There are many benefits to healthy snacking. You can use it to combat weight gain, curb cravings, boost mental ability, regulate mood and increase energy so that you have enthusiasm for the whole day. What can you get when you snack the right way?
In weight loss, extreme hunger may be a reason for you to binge eat. This may be a window for you to grab a doughnut box and other similar treats. Hence, be mindful of your snacks! Looking at the ingredients is a way to do this.
Go for foods that are whole and raw. Mono or polyunsaturated fats are your friends. You should consume at least 21 to 15 grams of fiber, and your snacks should allow you to get your needed dose of this for weight control and loss.
Food cravings will sabotage your diet, most especially when they are intense and irresistible. When you desire a certain food, you are most likely to indulge in extra sugars and carbohydrates that would only make it difficult to control eating.
Snacking can tap away your cravings. When you plan your snacks and plot them on a schedule, you’ll prevent yourself from eating unnecessarily. You will also manage to plan your food which will keep you away from bad choices.
Energy, mood and brain booster
There have been studies that strengthen the link between mood and food. Scientific evidence supports the impact of what you eat on your mental state. Thus, if you want to improve your mood and energy, being conscious of your food choices would be a good start.
Munching on dried fruits and snacks in between your meals is a healthy alternative to enhance your overall mood and energy. Including them in your diet can help you stay focused and productive which is surely ideal if you are in a work environment.
If your goal for snacking is to boost your brainpower, go for focus-boosting options such as blueberries, avocados, and dark chocolate. Consume any of these in the right portion and you’ll harness yourself some mental lift.
Is snacking bad for digestion
Snacking becomes worrisome when you’re frequently eating at random hours and in big portions. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, excess snacking may cause you to skip meals entirely which is bad for your health. Although snacking can help satiate your hunger, you may lose out on important ingredients if it is done at the expense of your actual full meals.
That said, on whether snacking is bad for digestion or not, it all boils down to your snacking behavior. What do you snack on? Why do you snack? How often do you snack? And, how do snacks fit into your eating plan and diet overall?
If you’re not careful, you could be snacking on whatever is easily available. Most children, for instance, only grab mostly calorie-rich foods but are poor in essential nutrients. Hence, this could lead to unhealthy eating behaviors from a young age and develop into health problems later on. This behavior could also result in gaining weight or, worse, obesity.
Adding too many calories can be detrimental to your body. As your body gets used to processed foods and hyper-palatable snacks, you are also increasing your preferences for nutrient-poor treats. As it happens, you are compromising the quality of your diet because, in turn, you are losing your appetite for healthier choices.
Another effect could later be seen in your metabolism which could potentially slow down due to spikes in certain macronutrients than others. Healthy snacks do the opposite. As for your digestive system, your digestion becomes irregular, hence, your body needs to exert more effort to break down food and convert it into energy.
Lastly, your gut may have difficulty doing its job because of harmful toxins introduced to your system. This could potentially lead to bloating, indigestion, and, worse, gut inflammation.
How to snack smart
Now that we’ve established how snacking can be smart, it’s time to use it to your advantage. You don’t even have to go into deep knowing to eat wise. Knowing the basics will get you a long way to maintain your energy so you can focus on your tasks for the day.
But, how do you snack smart? Planning is the key. You can start by having a schedule and eating only at the same time each day. Stick to the routine that you have established so that you can stop yourself from overloading.
It would also help to remember these when snacking:
- Eat when you are really hungry, not when you’re craving.
- Squeeze in small snacks when there’s a delay in your major meals.
- Nibble quick bites when you’re burning off extra calories and energy.
The kinds of food to snack
Your snacks should have a balance of important nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fats. For example, string cheese or low-fat yogurt is ideal for your gut, the same as the fiber in whole popcorn and grain pretzels. You can also indulge in healthy fats such as almonds or peanut butter.
What you must avoid are snacks that are packed with saturated fats, salt, and sugar. Your aim is to go for options that are nutritious, energizing, and satisfying. Prepare a selection that sets you up for success, not one that sabotages your fitness aims.
As much as possible, stick to the no-heat, no-utensils, kinds of food like vegetable sticks, granola bars, or wheat crackers. In the end, your snacks should be:
- Well-balanced and nutritious
- Simple, easy and convenient
- Creative and expert-recommended
When these are not present in the food that you snack in, it’s time to change your priorities.
Snacking can be healthy. More so, it helps curb your appetite and provide the energy you need for the day. You can slowly change your snacking habits and behaviors so your body can get used to healthier alternatives.
To know more about healthy snacks you can’t go wrong with, read more in this previous article here.
Positive and negative impacts of snacking
Does it hurt when you snack a lot? Or does it do more good than harm in your body? It’s inevitable for many people to do this habitual activity especially when killing time. In most cases, snacking is part of socializing and sharing moments with friends, families, and colleagues, too. So, is it really good to snack or not? And, is it healthy to do so?
Let’s take a look at the positive and negative impacts of snacking then.
- Positives (healthy snacking):
- Satisfy your appetite to the full throughout the day.
- Control and sustain your energy levels and blood sugar
- Consume only lighter meals
- Negatives (unhealthy snacking):
- Exceed your calorie intake for the day
- Poor food choices
- Constant grazing during meals
- Elevate inflammatory markers
More balanced meals can be more enriching and satisfying in the long run. Sometimes, eliminating snacking can spell the difference in improving your metabolism. Other times, it can be the very thing you need to lose weight and promote a healthier lifestyle overall. Healthy snacks should be part of your diet.
Importance of snacks
Snacking effects may vary from one person to another. It really needs an honest evaluation of yourself whether you are overeating or managing well. If in-between meals causes chain reactions of binge-eating for you, you need to stop unhealthy habits. Don’t let your behavior towards food lead to serious health conditions. Worse, unhealthy snacking could potentially require medical treatment. Still, prevention is better than cure.
Remember that there are smart ways to snack. If you’re craving for a particular food, eat only a small amount. For example, if you want chocolate, go for it. Eat a small square and enjoy it. Sometimes, depriving yourself of your craving leads to poorer food choices.
Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes quality of life with length of life. Healthy snacks can help you achieve that. Add nutrition to your day even with snacking and you can’t go wrong with that.