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Snacking It Right


By Dr. Antonella Grima

Article as appeared on on 19th January 2015

I often encounter people who are ever so diligent when having their main meals and who unfortunately commit a number of snacking blunders, thus consuming the wrong types of food and exceeding their daily caloric needs through snacking.

The result is inevitable – weight gain. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will help you snack wisely.

The Do’s:

Keep healthy snacks handy when you are out. This will keep you from purchasing calorie-dense alternatives, such as fast food takeaways, chocolate bars or sweets. Low calorie alternatives that can be easily carried around in your bag include fruit, a low fat yoghurt, a small packet of wholegrain crackers or a handful of nuts in a small container.

Find time to snack and try to have two or three snacks during the day, between your main meals. This will help you keep your glucose and insulin levels stable and avoid craving and overeating at meal times.

Drink plenty of water. Thirst may be misinterpreted as hunger by our bodies. Keeping yourself well-hydrated helps you curb your appetite and keep your food consumption within healthy limits.

And the Don’ts:

Avoid snacking when you are distracted in front of the TV or computer or when you are busy doing something. Mindless eating, which happens when we are concentrating on something else, makes us over eat and to go for the wrong food choices.

When you snack, do not graze. Choose one food item and stick to it. Eating one food item after another and in large quantities, may result in the consumption of a considerable amount of calories over a short period of time. This often happens when we have not eaten for some time and if we are starving or craving food.

Do not fall into the trap of snacking on protein shakes, protein or cereal bars. These might contain a high concentration of sugars and are seldom filling, making you want to eat more, afterwards.

In conclusion, snacks should provide an opportunity for increasing the consumption of healthy nutrients, such as vitamins and fibre, through wholesome and healthy options, while also keeping hunger under control until mealtimes. When chosen wisely, a snack can provide us with a refreshing and energy-boosting break to our daily routines.

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