Monday, August 1, 2011

Benefits of Healthy Snacking

Back in college when I first began struggling with a little extra weight, I thought the obvious solution was to limit my eating. I would skip breakfast, have a small lunch, and then be starving by dinner time. And snacking was out of the question. I had the formula down pat:

 Small meals + no snacking = fewer calories
few calories = weight loss

Boy was I wrong. The benefits of healthy snacking is tremendous and when you add exercise to the mix it becomes a must! I kinda stumbled upon this revelation during training for my first half marathon. I was hungry all the time. I knew I needed extra calories due to my increase in mileage; however, I would reach for the Cheetos opposed to the carrots. Since that time I have completing changed my eating habits. Processed foods are a rarity at our house and the fridge is stocked full of fresh fruits and vegetables. And lets just say, I am now the queen of snacking! Before heading to work I stuff my lunch box FULL of my day's food. 

My eating schedule looks a little like this:
10:00- Snack
12:00- Lunch
3:00- Snack
8:00- Snack (only if I've worked out that day)

Snacking Rocks! And you don't just have to take my word for it. Apparently I'm not the first to discover this secret because there is a lot of research that supports snacking! I found tons of articles that spout out nutritional and exercise science jargon, but here is the main jist of it:

Benefits of Healthy Snacking
-Foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes are satisfying and are packed with the nutrients, fiber, and protein your body needs, and they guard against sugar highs and lows, so you are less likely to succumb to your sweet tooth. [source]
-Due to snacking at small intervals you tend to eat lesser during your regular meal times which helps digest food faster. [source]
-Eating frequently prevents hungry pangs and the binges that follow, provides consistent energy, and may be the single most effective way to maintain metabolism efficiency. [source]

Some of my favorite go-to snacks are apples, bananas, raw snap peas, carrots, whole-grain pretzels, and of course smoothies. These snacks leaving me feeling clean and completely satisfied. Much better than the yucky, heavy feeling of chips or candy bars. 
Choosing healthy snacks is hands-down one of the healthiest decisions you can make each day. Eating every 2-3 hours keeps me from eating way too much at meal times and choosing healthy foods ensure that I get nutrient-rich calories. This means that I recover faster from my workouts and keep my metabolism up in the mean time. Everyone wins!

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, dietician, or anything of the sorts. I am only expressing what works for me and advice you to seek the guidance of a professional if you have questions regarding your dietary needs. 

1 comment:

  1. I am all about the snacking! I make sure my lunch box is packed to the brim with fruits and veggies so I can snack throughout the day. I eat a lot more now at my healthy weight than I ever did at my heaviest weight but I am eating whole, unprocessed foods to they are much better for my body. I am glad that someone else loves snacking at much as me!! - Shelley