1. Snack to control blood sugar. One important reason for snacking is to avoid low blood sugar. We all feel better when our energy supply is constant. Besides, if you have lunch at 1 pm and dinner is not until 8 pm, I can almost guarantee your healthy dinner plans will be derailed. Once your blood sugar drops, you go from “I am kind of hungry” to “if I don’t eat right now I might pass out.” At this point, chicken and green beans will no longer do. Whether you know it or not you will be looking for something that will bring your blood sugar back up quickly (ie: pasta, tortillas, pizza, candy).
2. A snack is not the same as a meal. A snack should be about 150-200 calories. A snack does not need to fill you up. All it needs to do it to satisfy you. Again, it is about controlling your blood sugar so that you are able to make healthy choices at your next meal.
3. Snacks should be the right combination of macro nutrients. You want about 1-2 ounces of lean protein and ½ cup – 1 cup of carbs that are low to moderate on the glycemic scale. Yes, the combination is important. An apple by itself is not ideal, but an apple and a piece of string cheese is a good choice.
4. Some snacks should be portable. It is wonderful to be home at snack time, and when I am I might make a crudités platter and a hardboiled egg. Most often you will be away from home at snack time so you need to plan ahead and bring it with you. I use a mini cooler to keep snacks with me when I am running around or at the gym more than 4 hours straight.
When it comes to snacks, don’t over think it. Some of the best snacks are very simple. Here are a few of my favorites:
Other ideas include:
- 1 oz roast turkey with mustard rolled up with 1 slice of low fat swiss cheese in a lettuce leaf.
- tablespoons of Whole Foods roasted pepper hummus with 12 baby carrots
- 2 oz left over chicken chopped and mixed with a teaspoon of mayo and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on top of a whole grain Wasa cracker.
Learning to snack right will not only give you more energy, it will speed you on your way to your weight loss goals.