Saturday, 23 August 2008

To snack or not to snack?

I hear so many contradicting arguments about snacking. We have all heard this is a good form of weight control, but can snacks add up as extra calories?

I think you need to be careful what it is that you are snacking on.

This snacking craze is now on the increase and more products are being released but not all I agree with.

When we have busier lifestyles we tend to grab snacks more but are we just feeding the snack food industry further?

When snaking becomes bad...

  • What people don’t realise is that snacking is to balance out our regular calorie in take not to increase it.
  • Snacking can either be a smart addition to a diet plan, eating fresh fruit or carrot sticks for examples, but cereal bars, crackers... they can be building more calories.
  • Eating three high calorie meals per day plus snacks will not help you but three low calorie meals with some in-between snacks is perfect.

Snacking can be a benefit...

This is what snacking can do for you:

  • To maintain a healthy weight regular eating controls your appetite so your less like to binge eat!
  • It aides weight loss, eating smaller meals more frequently will keep your metabolism working all day long, your metabolism is likely to conserve more calories by eating twice a day.
  • It satisfies the hunger bug, this is your bodies way of telling you it need nutrients. Skipping meals can make you prone to food cravings and will cause you to over eat or make the wrong meal choices.
  • It will make you feel less cranky, when I get hungry like most people I get snappy so missing breakfast or eating a irregular times can throw your energy levels all over the place. Spreading out nutrients will keep you temper at bay.
  • Snacking lowers your cholesterol, research shows people who eat little and often five times a day have lower cholesterol levels than a person having two meals a day.

Smart Snacking...

Some quick tips for some daily pick me ups:

Switch from three large meals a day to six smaller meals that contain carbs and protein. I recommend the following:

  • Vegetable crudités and low fat cheese spread
  • 1 apple
  • ½ pitta bread and low fat hummus
  • 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and whole wheat crackers

Keep single serving foods so you can put them in your gym back or to eat on your way home from work:
  • Low fat yogurt (from the fridge)
  • Muffins or Crumpets
  • Rice cakes
  • Instant low fat soup
  • Low fat organic cereal bars (not the sugary ones)
When you go for a night out have a light starter sized portion like soup or a small salad and you can also have as a single snack.

Snack consciously... Don’t do anything else while eating so you can focus on your food.

If you sweet tooth is beaming then replace this with something in place try these alternatives...

  • Small bowl of low-fat frozen yoghurt or ice-cream
  • 1/2 bag caramel-flavour rice cakes
  • A few squares of Green and Blacks dark chocolate 85% (if you must have chocolate)
  • 3 Jaffa cakes
  • Dates
  • Fruit
Remember snacking is only bad when you over snack on the wrong foods. Keep it in moderation and within your balanced diet.

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