As we talked about this week, snacks are an important component to any eating plan. They are important if you have to go longer periods of time without a meal or maybe just because your body needs that extra bit of nutrition throughout the day. Most athletes that move their bodies for long period times benefit from snacks as well.

So, while snacks get a bad rap, it couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, they are really necessary to keep your blood sugars stable and to prevent you from getting overly hungry.

We know what happens when you get overly hungry, right? Can we say “hangry.” We know from research that people who are overly hungry are more likely to feel out of control with their eating and more likely to eat more at the next meals for the day.

The goal with incorporating snacks into your eating plan is to help you to move from meal to meal and feel hungry without being starving. Planning your snacks are important especially is helping you to get the right kind of snack at the right time.

Healthy Snacks for All Ages

Click on this hyperlink above so you can reference and/or print out this full size PDF of the infographic.

When you are getting started with planning a snack it really comes down to timing.

  1. If you are going to go less than 2 hours before your next meal you can just choose something from the first column (carbohydrate). Remember, from the training video two days ago that if carbohydrates keeps our blood sugar stable for a few hours. So, if you are only going to go a few hours and eat a meal this will just help to tide you over.
  2. However, if you are going more than 2 hours without eating, planning a snack that includes either a carbohydrate AND a protein and/or fat. For example, as you can see from the infographic, having a snack such as peanut butter and apple with provide you with carbohydrate, protein and fat. This snack would be something that would last longer and get you to meal which is further away.

Take a minute to think about your day in regards to your eating. Get a blank piece of paper, spend a few minutes writing down you what time you eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner. How long are you going between your meals? If meal time is greater than 4 hours, it’s likely you will feel much better planning a snack in between. Planning for these balanced snacks will help you to avoid be overly hungry and working towards feeling more food secure.

Happy Snacking!