(This article was featured in the June, 2011 edition of A Healthy You)
There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. Views on snacking differ. Some feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain. Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight. If there were one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!
To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body. Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutrition, or because you are eating too little at meals. You might be snacking to soothe jangled nerves when you are emotional, or to entertain yourself when you are bored.
Whatever your reason, acknowledge it and start thinking about how to create a life that is nourishing and truly satisfying.
Although snacks are no substitute for loving your life, they can be great energy boosters. Many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars. When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious. Here are some tips:
- Snack on things that don’t come in a plastic wrapper or a box, like fresh fruit, leftover vegetables or rice cakes with almond butter and fruit spread.
- Make your own signature trail mix, organic hot chocolate made with almond milk sweetened with agave nectar, or blue corn chips with hummus.
You can also try “upgrading”:
- If you are craving something crunchy, upgrade from potato chips to raw carrots, apples or whole grain crackers.
- If you are craving a candy bar, upgrade to a handful of nuts and dried fruit. Instead of a cup of coffee, upgrade to green tea. Instead of ice cream, upgrade to applesauce with cinnamon.
Upgraded snacks are high in nutrition and give you a greater sense of satiety and satisfaction; you won’t feel physically or psychologically deprived, and you’ll have plenty of energy to sustain your activities for hours.
Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.