Like afternoon naps and chocolate milk at lunch time, we grew out of snack time. We are taught not to ruin our appetite for supper or expand our waistline with mid-day munchies. However, holding off to dinner is not going to get you on the good behavior list. Snacking between meals is actually a great idea! Here are the basic principles on how and why to get started.
(1) Slows Down Mealtime
Have you ever come home from a long day at work and your tummy is growling and making the most awful noises? Then you find yourself with your hands half way through a chip bag and two cookies down while you are planning out what to have for dinner? Well, try having a mid-afternoon snack around 3 or 4 pm when you feel that energy dip could prevent that after work chip comma. Snacks should be around 100-200 calories filled with protein and fiber. One good choice would be a piece of fruit and string cheese, or low fat cottage cheese with some berries.
(2) Helps You Get in All You Need
I have clients come in and see me all the time telling me that their metabolism is broken or nonexistent, and they will never be able to lose weight. Your metabolism is a reaction or a process of reactions, and every reaction in your body starts with some vitamin or mineral. When we are missing one piece of that reaction process of course it is not going to function properly or at its top speed. Snacks are a great way to get in vitamins and minerals. Almonds help you reach your needs for calcium.
(3) Mood Booster
When your blood sugar drops, you can become irritable and have a hard time concentrating. Having a snack or meal every 2-3 hours can help keep your cognition and mood even all day.
- Popcorn + cheese
- Popcorn + 2tbsp nutritional yeast
- Popcorn + ¼ c nuts
- Luna bar
- Kind Bar
- Crackers + cheese
- Crackers + 1tbsp peanut butter
- ½ PB & J
- Vanilla wafers + milk
- Graham crackers + milk
- Chocolate milk
- Greek yogurt & fruit
- Greek yogurt + dark chocolate chips
- Wasabi pes + nuts
- 16 chips + unlimited salsa + 1 oz cheese
- 1 whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz cheese + salsa
- ½ c chex mix + ¼ c spicy peanuts
- ½ c cottage cheese + 16 chips + Jalapenos
- ½ c sesame sticks + ¼ c nuts
- ½ c LF cottage cheese + 1 c fruit
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.