03 Dec 2017
4 min read
Gone are the times when you’d be advised to have just three major meals. Instead, health experts today vouch for the importance of snacking in between meals. If you are on a weight-loss journey, you should incorporate a lot of snack time into your diet plan, as that is a foolproof way to avoid overeating while ensuring that you add nutrients to your daily diet.
1) Add nutritional value
It has been proven that eating a healthy snack allows you to increase the amount of essential nutrients in your daily diet. For instance, if you are unable to have fruits during lunch, simply have it as an afternoon snack. It is all right to have the occasional unhealthy snack, but you should make it a point to have nutrient-heavy snacks that are fibrous but low in fat and sugar.
2) Keep cravings at bay
The idea behind snacking is to keep your tummy satisfied so that you don't suddenly end up crazily hungry and munch on whatever is within reach. Think about the amount of unhealthy snacks you consume as a result, and how you overcompensate by overeating during your next meal. Therefore, if you know that lunch or dinner is in a few hours, but your tummy is already rumbling, you should probably have a small snack.
TIP: Prepare your healthy, low-calorie snack beforehand and have it by your side. You can store them in your office's drawers or just keep them in your bag. Make sure that it is a good mix of proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats.
3) Maintain blood sugar level
Maintaining blood pressure is crucial to reducing risks of contracting diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as cravings in general. Consuming a consistent amount of carbs for each snack will prevent spikes and dips in your sugar levels.
4) Have more energy
Basically, having a stable sugar level will ensure that you do not feel lethargic. Think about it: you know how we talk about 'feeling sleepy' after a nice, heavy meal? That's because of the spike and crash of our sugar levels. Hence, look after your sugar levels by consuming complex carbs, and you will have the energy to power through your day.
BONUS: Research has shown that occasional snacking leads to better concentration and productivity. All the more reason to snack.
When it comes to snacking, it’s really a case of ‘to each his own’. But no matter which snacks are your favourite, you need to know that not all snacks are created equal. The rules of the thumb are as follows:
- Aim for 100 calories a day, and if you are considering replacing one of your meals with a snack, aim for about 250 calories
- Make sure the snacks are a mix of carbs, proteins and healthy fats
- Avoid munching on a snack right before (less than half an hour) a major meal
- Have your snack about halfway between meals
- Portion control (yes, even for the healthy nibbles) is key
Here are some ideas for your next snack time:
- Air-popped popcorns: You can sprinkle these with salt or cinnamon, but butter is a big no
- Trail mix: Make this yourself by simply roasting some instant oats and nuts of your choice (walnuts, almonds, pistachios)
- Half an avocado
- Sliced apples or a medium-sized banana with peanuts
- Small bowl of boiled chana and two hard-boiled eggs (only one egg yolk)
- Two squares of dark chocolate (50 per cent or more) with a cup of unsweetened black tea
- Two slices of whole-wheat bread with nut butter