WASHINGTON – I often see clients — concerned with consuming extra calories — who report they are trying to “break the habit of snacking.”
Typically, we associate snacking with trips to the vending machine or late-night eating, but allowing yourself to eat healthy snacks on your terms can actually help you achieve your nutrition goals.
Here’s the deal. If you go longer than four to six hours between meals, your blood sugar levels may drop. This makes it more likely you will overeat at your next meal or later in the day.
Going long stretches without a meal may also cause you to experience severe cravings or make impulse food choices.
But when you do snack, it’s important to do so smartly. Here are some tips on how to do just that:
Plan your snacks as you would your meals, with balanced food items that you enjoy. Choose a carbohydrate and protein/healthy fat when pairing your snacks. This will help keep your blood sugars stable and allow you to remain fuller, longer.
Avoid grazing throughout the day and try to have set snacking times spaced out in between meals to help keep your energy levels up.
Keep your serving sizes in check. It’s a snack, not a meal.
Next time you’re planning a snack and need a few healthy and satisfying ideas, try one of my favorite snacks:
Turkey and pretzel roll-ups
Rice cake and laughing cow cheese wedge
Fresh fruit and a hard-boiled egg
Trail mix with nuts and chocolate chips
Carrots and guacamole
Roasted chickpeas with olive oil and cayenne pepper
Tortilla chips and hummus
Wheat toast with tuna
Greek yogurt and granola
Protein bars (for on the go!)
Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates and serves on the board for the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association. Kait focuses on individualizing her recommendations to have each client see results and live a healthier, more productive life, and she works to help people enjoy food and eat the foods they love. Kait lives in the D.C. area and loves trying new restaurants and activities around the city. Visit Kait’s blog, Dietitian in DC, and tweet her @DietitianInDC for recipes, nutrition tips and activities in the Washington area.