Well & Good
Snacking not only wards off hanger (hungry anger), it can fill the holes in your daily nutrition and weight-loss goals too.
But since healthy snacking is all about the right choices, let the 10 commandments of snacking be your guide. From choosing a right pre-workout bite to using snacks to satisfy cravings, these rules are here to help (not doom) your diet.
1. Thou shalt measure
Once you choose a snack, measure out the appropriate serving, leave the kitchen, and sit down to enjoy it. Avoid eating straight from the box of cereal or while standing at the kitchen counter, because you're more likely to keep going back for more (and more!).
2. Thou shalt fill in the gaps
Use snacks to fill in the holes in your diet. If you didn't get your greens in at lunch, munch on a few veggies in the afternoon. This will ensure you have a well-balanced diet - not to mention fruits and veggies are lower in calories and higher in nutritional value than a handful of candy.
3. Thou shalt acknowledge cravings
Can't stop daydreaming about chocolate? Don't try to suppress it. Instead, see if you can come up with a diet-friendly alternative that'll satisfy the craving so you don't over indulge later on.
4. Thou shalt keep it under 200 calories
It's important to keep snacks between 150 and 200 calories, especially if you're trying to lose weight. Although this sounds small, there are plenty of options under 150 calories that are satisfying and filling.
5. Thou shalt consider the workout
The right snack is key to a good workout and recovery. Pre-workout snacks should offer a combo of protein and carbs, and you should nosh on your snack about 30 minutes before setting out to exercise. For a good recovery, also choose post-workout snacks that are a combo of protein and carbs to build and repair muscle and quickly recoup lost energy.
6. Thou shalt pair with water
Fill a reusable water bottle or a glass with nature's beverage, and sip a few mls after each bite of snack. The water will help you feel full and satisfied without adding any calories.
7. Thou shalt savour
Since snacks are small, make your snack last at least 15 minutes and really savour each bite. Slowing down when eating will help you feel satiated by the time you finish, which will prevent you from wanting to reach for more. Don't forget to apply the same rule for meals too!
8. Thou shalt make it a triple threat
Don't just reach for a handful of crackers. For a satisfying snack, the right combination of proteins, carbs, and fats will keep you feeling full and allow your blood sugar levels to stabilise so you don't crash and burn. Stick to a combination of fruits, veggies, and bread with nuts, yoghurt, or cheese.
9. Thou shalt be prepared
When you're on the go, you're likely to snatch up whichever snack is most convenient (cough cough, chips!). Rather than settling for unhealthy picks, make sure that you always have a healthy choice on hand. Keep protein-packed energy bars or a small bag of nuts in your purse so that you're never forced to go with an unhealthy on-the-go option.
10. Thou shalt stick to it
Although you're consuming calories, snacking can actually help you lose weight. It satiates your hunger, making you less likely to reach for high-calorie treats when you're beyond starving or to eat more at dinner than you normally would.
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