I’ve learned over the past few years the power of the snack. My almost 14 month old is a big eater and look out if she is hungry. It reminds me of the Snickers commercial “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”
When I teach nutrition classes or work with private clients I always recommend planned between meal snacks. I would say 75% of the time I get this look of terror in their eyes. A client that has spent a majority of their lifetime trying not to eat would say, “What you want me to eat more often to get healthy and lose weight??” I’ve learned over the years to be ready for this stare and be quick with my explanation.
So here it goes…
I’m giving your permission to eat a snack, no I’m not saying “dessert” or “junk food” I’m saying a snack (although, I find nothing wrong with the occasional dessert or junk food for a planned snack). Snacks provide nutrition in between meal time to help keep you in control of your hunger and your blood sugar. Our bodies are designed to handle a small amount of food frequently throughout the day. The food we eat is designed to be digested in this way too. When large meals are consumed whatever the body can not break down in the time constraints will be stored as fat. If it happens every once in a while no big deal because at some point the body will need to go into the storage for extra nutrition. The problem lies when it happens all the time. Since most children are so good at regulating their hunger they typically eat until they are full and stop. Since they are so efficient at doing this children will get hungry more often. This is where snacks become so important for everyone in the family.
The whole family should be eating in between snacks anywhere from 2-3 hours after the previous meal and 2-3 hours before the next meal. Eating this snack will allow the individual to come to the table hungry, but not too full to eat the next meal. In order to have a snack last for 2-3 hours it should contain protein, carbohydrate and fat. Each nutrient will work independently at different times to keep you full.
Here are 10 Snacks to get your started that contain protein, carbohydrate and fat!
1. Peanut Butter and Apple
2. Trail Mix (nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, etc…)
3. Cheese and Crackers
4. Milk and Cookies
5. Veggies and Full Fat Salad Dressing
6. Hummus and Pita Chips
7. Yogurt and Granola
8. Fruit cup and Cottage Cheese
9. Fig Bars and Milk
10. Kefir and Fruit Smoothie
Now these are just a few suggestions that I’ve come up, but you can mix and match them to create your own ultimate snacks.
So as you go throughout your day the key is to have planned sit down snacks in between meal time!
I’d love to hear what your favorite snack is, feel free to comment below!