you're never too old to pack a snack
as kids, we were given snacks at school, after school and possibly after dinner as well, but as adults our lives can lose some of that preparedness and balance. you may think snacking is not part of a healthy diet or isn’t necessary once you pass grade school, but studies have shown that planned snacking has myriad health benefits.
first, it’s important to differentiate between a specific snack and grazing. choosing a healthy snack at the right time is good for your body. nibbling on this and that all day long can add up the pounds before you realize it.
next, be aware of your caloric intake and expenditure. a well-planned snack should fit into your daily allowance, not add to it. this is key! if you start adding, even healthy snacks, to your already full calorie load, then you will start gaining weight. the idea behind a snack regime is to balance out your energy consumption throughout the day.
now your ready to plan out timing. the idea behind snacking for your health is two-fold. step one is to regulate your body. this means keeping your sugar levels balanced, metabolism running and energy focused. second is to avoid hunger pains and meal binging.
try to think about food as fuel and your body only has a four hour tank, but unlike a car, your body is more efficient and at half a tank, it begins to function at a restricted capacity. this means a full meal can buy you four hours, but at two hours a top-up is needed to bring you back to high-performance.
this has been shown in blood sugar dips, primal starvation mode, a decrease in concentration and energy and less control over cravings and portion sizes. if you wait till your almost empty, you’re more likely to give in to that box of donuts in the office or the extra helping at dinner.
if you missed your planned snack, just enjoy your lunch or dinner. another smart idea is to not snack after dinner unless your trainer or dietitian has you loading up on protein before you sleep. if the night goes long and hunger strikes, choose extremely low-calorie foods like celery, cucumbers, carrots or air-popped popcorn. use herbs and spices for guiltless flavor.
finally, always be prepared. once you get your body operating at its max, you’ll want to keep it that way. this means going old school and packing your snacks. there are many options available, so when looking them over, try to find a balance of carbs, protein and fat. also keep in mind storage, cold or hot, needed utensils and where you will be when eating. we may get away from our desks for meals, but snacks are often sitting next to our laptops.
bagged and boxed provide excellent convenience but not always great health or portion sizes. choose something like iwon organics protein chips. each bag is individually sized to give you roughly 200 calories with 12 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs and only 9 grams of fat with six great flavors.