Are you incorporating balanced snacks between meal times?
There is a right time and right way to snack for success. Studies have shown that those who have an eating pattern of 3 meals plus 2 snacks per day have a lower BMI and easier time losing weight and keeping it off when compared to those individuals who do not incorporate snacks. Studies have also found that those who do have snacks, are more likely to consume more fiber as well as fruits and veggies!
Here are 5 tips to help you snack for success:
- Balance your snacks!
Just like your meals, and well, every aspect of your life, balance is a MUST! Your snacks should have a carb, protein, and fat to keep you fueled and fuller for longer! One of the best things you can do for yourself when planning snacks is find different ways to use the same ingredient. We want to work smarter, not harder!
A favorite go to snack for busy days is nonfat Greek yogurt of your preferred flavor topped with slivered almonds or your favorite nut/seed!
- Keep your snack portions, “Snack Sized”!
Portion sizes are important when we talk about our consumption, especially with snacks! When we are at the grocery store or even out to eat, it is no secret that portion sizes increased drastically over the years! According to the CDC, “Research shows that people unintentionally consume more calories when faced with larger portions.”
Invest in single serve containers or bags when making your own snacks or purchase ready to-go single serve items to help keep you from over consuming.
- Make it a family affair!
Get the whole family involved in the meal planning and preparing process! It is a great opportunity for quality time while you are also increasing your child’s overall confidence in the kitchen, and you are even working on reading and math skills!
- Plan ahead!
Have you ever heard the saying, “don’t let busy become a way of life” because it is 100% true. Being busy is the number one habit CRUSHER! This is why we should always have a plan…
First, make sure you stock convenient nutritious snacks in your home and place of work. If you have a day full of errands, pack your snacks to go! On days like this, it is important to have shelf stable snacks that can last outside of the refrigerator for longer periods of time.
A few examples:
- Carbs: Rice cakes, Veggie chips, fruit and unsweetened applesauce pouches
- Protein: Jerky, tuna fish pouch, canned chicken, and protein powder
- Fat: nut butters, nuts, and seeds
- Snack mindfully, not mindlessly!
This means being aware of what and why you’re eating. Listen to your body’s hunger cues and set aside time to enjoy your snacks without distraction.
A study published in 2014 found that mindfulness predicts reduced calorie consumption. Dispositional mindfulness was associated with reports of less uncontrolled eating, reduced calorie consumption in a spontaneous eating task, and greater likelihood of choosing fruit than sweets as a snack.
So what does this mean, by practicing mindfulness during meal and snack times we are less likely to over consume foods and we are more likely to choose better options!