When it comes to eating healthily, snacking has a bad reputation. It’s usually synonymous with unhealthy food, habitually eating between meals and gradually putting on weight.
But is snacking always an unhealthy habit? Could it actually help us lead a more healthy lifestyle?
Why Does Snacking Have Such a Bad Rep?
Snacking is a term used to describe eating between regular meals but it doesn’t automatically mean bad foods.
Snacking is primarily motivated by hunger which is when our blood sugar levels are low. This causes the body to crave fatty or sugary foods that will help bridge the gap until our next meal and get the blood sugar levels up in the quickest time. Therefore, snacking has been associated with weight gain.
However, many studies have shown that if a person has a generally balanced, healthy diet, snacking has no effect on weight1. The idea that eating extra calories can only be detrimental to weight is another flawed premise. There are many ways that snacking can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Why Snacking is Actually Good For You
So why should we look at snacking as a positive rather than a negative? Is it time to make snacking a habit in our diet?
As long as you’re mindful of what kind of snacks you’re eating, snacking can be used as a way to lose weight and keep you feeling balanced throughout your day. Here’s how…
It Prevents Overeating
While snacking can be seen as adding extra calories, it makes sense that if you’ve kept yourself topped up through the day, you won’t overeat when you finally come to sit down for dinner. Hunger is the culprit here and, ironically, is the main cause for putting on weight. Feeling ravenous will make us eat up to 20% more than we need to eat so snacking to curb the hunger will keep you eating normal portions. Just make sure the snack is calorie controlled because you don’t want to fill up on processed foods only to not want to eat your healthy dinner.
Helps To Get More Nutrients
Smart snacking can be an advantage when it comes to getting all the goodness your body needs. It can be hard to get all the nutrients you need in three main meals especially if we have a busy day. This is where snacking can provide you with an extra healthy boost. Almost everything that isn’t processed can give us much-needed nutrients – nuts, seeds, cheese, fruit or vegetables. Low calorie snacks that fill you up can help your body power through the day more efficiently.
Keeps Your Energy Levels Up
We’ve all had that feeling of weakness and loss of energy when we feel hungry. This ultimately doesn’t lead to a productive day and causes concentration levels to waiver and irritability to rise.
Snacking basically prevents this from happening and helps maintain a positive healthy mind as well as body. In other words, snacking can keep us happy and prevents dips associated with negative feelings.
Healthy Snacks Can Create Smart Food Choices
Not only does it prevent overeating but it helps us make better choices when it comes to meal times. If our blood sugar is maintained, we are less likely to reach for the pizza or burger and instead consider a healthier choice.
Choosing or planning healthier snacks can also convince the brain that we want to carry on the healthy options well into the evening. So snacking on high protein, low fat foods such as protein shakes, plain yoghurts, raw vegetables, or nuts and seeds, can mean you don’t want to spoil your good work when it comes to lunch or dinner.
Snack Smart and Reap the Benefits
So, snacking is far from bad if you’re mindful of the types of snacks you choose. Maintaining your sugar levels and curbing your hunger will go towards eliminating unhealthy choices when it comes to your meals. Try not to over snack, just think of it as tiding you over and giving extra love to your body until your next meal. If you’re aiming to lose weight, snacking will help in your quest for weight loss if done in this smart and mindful way.
Remember to only snack if you’re genuinely hungry. Boredom snacking is very common, generally unnecessary and tends to happen just before a big meal. Try to avoid this and snack when you feel your body needs it not when your irrational mind is convincing you to. Avoid this and you can snack in a positive, healthy way.
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