Guest Article Written By: Virginia Cunningham
It is not even midday and you are feeling that mid morning slump. Your energy is low, your concentration is… what concentration?… and you are honestly just counting down the minutes until it is lunchtime.
The reality is, food is not only supposed to be eaten for its tastiness (although that is a very good reason to eat food), but also to keep you going! Food is fuel. Our bodies need fuel and it is okay that our bodies need fuel every few hours to get through the day. In fact, snacking in between meals has been shown to be good for you.
The key is to snack healthily with small, proper portions. Snacking promotes increased energy and a better mood. Snacking enables you to not overindulge due to major hungriness during lunch and dinner.
Along with this, instead of craving greasy and unhealthy foods, snacks can help curb cravings because you will already be full and satisfied after eating healthy snacks. Not only will you be putting healthier foods into your body, but you can control your weight by eating smaller meals more often too.
Don’t ignore your body if you are feeling hungry. Instead, opt for filling snacks such as protein, which makes you feel fuller quicker. Examples of protein rich snacks include:
- almond butter
- peanut butter (which you can pair with celery)
- egg whites
- cottage cheese
- Lentil Crackers/Chips
If cereal is your go-to snack, choose cereals that contain oats – they make you feel fuller quicker and longer – and cereals that are high in fiber, low in sugar and fat, and that contain whole grains, as they are nutritious and filling.
Fruits and vegetables are always good and healthy options. Fruits are not only packed with nutrients, they are also the low on the glycemic index, meaning it won’t affect your blood sugar levels as much as foods that are higher on the glycemic index.
Examples of food that are high on the glycemic index – and therefore are snacks to avoid – include donuts and pastries, cookies, and fruit flavored candies. Your body does not need the excess amount of sugar contained with these foods, so the sugar will only be stored as fat in your body.
The excess amount of fat, calories, and sugar will also leave you feeling tired, due to a sugar crash, and uncomfortably full. Moreover, sugar is addictive and once you snack on something full of sugar, it will leave you craving for more, which can lead to unhealthy snacking choices and predispose you to diabetes.
Instead, opt for real fruit and vegetables. There are plenty of ways in which to snack on fruits and vegetables. You can purchase canned fruits or dried fruit, or you can freeze favorite fruits such as grapes or bananas for a refreshing snack. An avocado can provide you with healthy fats that are good for the brain. For quick, convenient bites, cherry tomatoes and carrots are also nutritious.
Perhaps you are in the mood for a thirst quencher. You can blend together your favorite fruits and vegetables for an energy packed drink. Moreover, your homemade smoothie would make for a better option than a store bought drink packed with additional sugar.
If you are craving a crunchy or baked snack, choose options that are made out of nutritious ingredients that are good for you such as vegetables, lentils, herbs, and hummus.
Snack healthily throughout the day and you will have a concentrated frame of mind and a healthier, more energized body.
Virginia Cunningham is a health and wellness writer out of Los Angeles, covering everything from the healthcare industry and pharmaceuticals to alternative therapy, fitness, and nutrition. She knows that snacking does not have to be boring, and enjoys coming up with new ideas of foods to keep her fueled and healthy throughout the day.