When you have long working hours or are having a get together, snacking is inevitable. Snacking is not bad for the body, provided you do it in moderation and make healthy choices. Some of us stick to three meals daily, but for most, snacking is regular and part of their daily routine.
If you are someone who consumes snacks regularly, there are a few keypoints to bear in mind — What, when and why do you eat a snack? Are you really hungry or just craving a snack? It’s always important to differentiate before hunger and craving.
HUNGER: This is a psychological response where the body alerts the brain that nourishment is needed. If you are hungry, you may feel a discomfort in your stomach or a intestinal rumbling.
APPETITE: This is an instinctive physical desire to eat that occurs when you are hungry. It can be stimulated by outside influences.
CRAVING: This is a psychological state affected by outside influences, such as the sight or smell of food and by emotions, habits, moods and imagination rather than by hunger.
If you really are hungry then eat a healthy snack rather than waiting for the next meal. As boring as healthy snacks may sound, you would be surprised at just how tasty they are, all the new things you’ll get to try, and how easy they are to tote around with you on-the-go.
Regular healthy snacks are important for maintaining energy levels.
Snacks are particularly important and good for children, who have small stomachs and are unlikely to eat enough to meet their nutritional requirements in three meals.
Here are some healthy, nutritious items that you should be adding to the top of your grocery list.
Munchies that crunch
Apples and pears
Carrot sticks or slices
Zucchini or cucumber circles
Whole grain crackers
Nuts and seeds
Chickpeas (roasted or sundal)
Rethink your drink
Plain or sparkling water (add some fruit and herbs to it)
Fat-free milk /soy milk
Unsweetened tea or coffee
100% fruit juice (stick to a small glass)
Low-sodium tomato or vegetable juice
Snacks that satisfy
Whole grain toast with peanut butter or almond butter
Cherry tomatoes with hummus
Low fat or fat free cheese
Plain low fat yogurt (an awesome pairing with fruit)
Fruit and veggie smoothie
Snacks to curb your sweet tooth
Raisin, dates, figs and other sweetened dried fruits
Fresh fruit salad
So, think about what is triggering your urge to eat — is it boredom or maybe something you saw or smelled. Try to pinpoint exactly what it is that you are craving and satisfy it.
The writer is founder and chief nutritionist at Sano Holistic Nutrition Clinic