When people think of healthy eating, snacks don’t usually come to mind. This is probably because of the misconception that when you want to eat healthy, you have to eat less. There’s also the fact that people often think of fast food or pre-packed chips, cookies, soft drinks or bottled juice when they think of snacks.
The fact is, eating healthy snacks has great health benefits. Here are some of them:
- Maintains high energy throughout the day.
The food that you eat is the fuel that your body uses for the activities you perform throughout the day. Unfortunately, the food that you eat for your meals burns out after three to five hours. So after that, you will experience a drop in energy, making you feel tired and sleepy. Work outputs in offices are often affected by this and is generally referred to as the afternoon slump due to the workers’ low energy.
Eating healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and whole grains at this time can help you recover your energy to maintain it throughout the day. This is very helpful, especially when you are at school or at work, and you need to keep your energy levels stable for all the tasks you have to perform. If you are looking for healthy snack options, this SnackNation healthy snacks guide can help you find yummy and healthy snack options.
- Prevents overeating.
The main focus of healthy eating should be portions. These days, people often eat big portions and that becomes a problem because you tend to overeat when you are hungry. This can easily lead to weight gain if you do not address the problem.
If you want to prevent overeating and the eventual weight gain, then healthy snacking is the answer you need. Again, there is an emphasis on healthy. Choosing healthy snacks like protein bars, fruit, yogurt, or nuts to satisfy your mid-meal hunger makes a huge difference because they are packed with the nutrients your body needs.
- Lessens unhealthy cravings.
When people experience low blood sugar levels, it often leads to raiding the fridge and looking for calorie-rich food like donuts, cookies, and chips to munch on for that immediate high in blood sugar level. This is obviously an unhealthy habit that needs to be curbed or rid of altogether.
One of the best solutions for this is to eat healthy snacks at the right time so your blood sugar level doesn’t drop too low. Eating fruits like bananas, grapes, or apples paired with yogurt is an example of a healthy snack that can curb your worst cravings. Protein bars, nuts, and fiber-rich snacks can also be good alternatives.
Making sure that your blood sugar level is maintained can definitely curb your worst diet problems, such as your cravings for unhealthy sugar-laden, high calorie, and high-fat and sodium food.
- Helps you recover after exercise.
Exercising while dieting is the best combination to lose weight. And for those who exercise, they often feel conflicted about eating after sweating all those extra calories when they shouldn’t.
Healthy snacking after your exercise is essential to maintain your energy and metabolism, and it also helps your muscles recover after strenuous activity. For best results, after-workout snacks must include carbohydrates and a small amount of protein ten to twenty minutes after your gym session. So there is no need to feel guilty if you munch on a peanut butter sandwich because it is actually good for you.
Tips for Healthy Snacking
Achieving the health benefits mentioned above is only possible when you snack on healthy food choices. Snacking is great for your overall health so start doing it, but do it properly for optimum health benefits.
Here are some tips for healthy snacking:
- Plan your snacks – You know your body and activities best so plan your snacks around it. What time of the day do you feel most tired and what time of the day do you most need an energy boost? Eat snacks on those critical times.
- Portion your snacks ahead – It is common to eat your snacks without portioning them into serving sizes and just picking straight from the container. However, this is not advised as you may overeat. So since you already know when you will eat your snacks, separating them to serving sizes ahead of time can prevent you from eating too much from the container.
- Get a list of healthy options – Deciding what to snack on in real time can persuade you to stray from the healthy path, especially if you are not sure which to choose from the wide variety of healthy snack options available. Familiarize yourself with healthy snack choices by getting a list and reading it. Next time, when you go grocery shopping, you know what other options you have other than fresh fruits and yogurt.
Whether or not you are on a diet, eating healthy snacks can really improve your overall health. This is something that you should not feel guilty of, but instead do more often because it offers a lot of great health benefits.