The Value of Quality Snacking
Let’s take a minute to discuss the power of snacking. For many of us, it’s one of the first eating habits we learn as children. We get snacks at school, after school, before bed, or as rewards. Snack time is a term we all understand. As we get older, we get breaks during the workday, and often that little time to relax and recharge comes with a snack. Our need to eat in between meals is more than indulgence, it is a cultural norm. Snack food production is a $43.6 billion dollar industry and the market is still trending with an expected growth of 1.5% this year. The real question is whether snacking is good or bad for our health.
The answer is conditional as is most information for our health and fitness. First, it depends on what you are choosing as a snack. If a candy bar or caramel macchiato make regular appearances in your day or week, these snacks are not the best choice even if they fit within your caloric allowance. Why? The sugar.
When we eat high sugar foods without fiber and protein to moderate its uptake in our blood, we cause an insulin spike. This spike is what causes the crash we have all experienced, and instead of feeling energized, we are ready for a nap. Other studies are connecting insulin spikes to weight gain for some or preventing weight loss in others. No matter how you look at it, sugary snacks are tasty in the moment, but come with a pretty hefty set of physical reactions and possible long-term consequences.
So, is it better not to snack?
Not necessarily. You want a snack that emphasizes macronutrients, something that will energize your body and mind for the rest of your day. This means protein based snacks or high fiber, low sugar foods. If you are choosing from today’s many pre-packaged options, look for plant based snacks, gluten free snacks, vegan or vegetarian snacks, and organic, whole food ingredients on the labels. The healthier the snack the better your body will respond and the more energized you will feel.
The biggest issue is the hardwiring in our brains around the term snack. While its definition is simply a small portion of food eaten between primary meals, our minds think of particular foods when we hear the word. This is due to $14 billion dollars a year of marketing designed to push fast, unhealthy food choices our way. Snacking brings to mind crinkly bags loaded with salty, crunchy, and often fried. We can see ourselves peeling back the wrapper around something sweet, gooey, and rich. Snacks are buckets of popcorn with butter, a fizzy soda, a bag of chips, and so on.
While rewiring our thoughts to envision peeling back a banana peel, crunching on carrot sticks, or sipping on sugar-free green juice would be awesome, we don’t have to take all the fun out of snacking to get what our bodies need. And many of us do need a snack now and then.
Snacking has gotten a bad rap due to the foods so often associated with the idea, but most of us do actually benefit from these mini food breaks. Eating will give us a pop of energy for those times when our glucose levels have dropped. What we eat will determine how that energy plays out. A snack between meals can also help to control our appetite when a larger portion is set in front of us. We all know shopping or ordering take-out when we’re ravenous can lead to way more than is necessary. It’s also a great opportunity to add more quality nutrients into our diet.
So, is it possible to get healthy, high-quality macros in our snacks without opting for a veggie platter sans high calorie dip? Yes! Thanks to companies like IWON, we now have a choice, many in fact. We get to indulge in the crinkly wrappers and crunchy, satisfying goodness while giving our bodies healthy high protein snacks.
Some of us are old-school and prefer the classics like good old Bar-B-Que potato chips. We get it. That tangy sweet flavor infused in a finger sized crunch, who could say no? You can. Vegan Mesquite BBQ protein stix will satisfy this classic wish with a kick, or you can upscale your flavor with the Korean BBQ protein stix that have just the right blend of sharp tang and sweetness.
We don’t all want chips as a snack. Some days we want something gooey and sweet, and that’s okay too. If creamy and sweet flavors are calling your name, the vanilla blueberry protein granola clusters will answer. If chocolate is the only thing that will do, let the chocolate pecan protein granola clusters satisfy the craving.
There are too many great snacks out there to ever settle for anything less than delicious and healthy. It’s time to get some variety packs and fill your break room or lunch box with protein snacks that satisfy.