Think back to when you were a kid, and an after-school snack was waiting for you when you got home. That midday pick-me-up had some thought behind it — thanks, Mom or Dad! With dinner being a few hours away, that snack kept you energized for your sports practice, or studying for your math test or piano lessons.
Snacking as an adult is no different. We feed ourselves to maximize energy, strengthen our mind and improve our mood. When you add thought and intention to grabbing a treat, you may find yourself snacking for reasons different than just a mindless chew.
Here are 5 reasons you should be snacking throughout the day:
Smart planning goes into your day’s food choices. Scheduling snacks along with your primary meals are part of that big picture. Supplement your breakfast, lunch and dinner in-between with nutrient dense nibbles. Take opportunities to meet required daily macros and micros (carbs, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals) by “eating the rainbow,” which in nutritionist language means choosing a variety of whole foods. Load up on colors, and you have assured a healthy micronutrient and antioxidant count.
Portion distortion is a real thing; it is also fast becoming a serious problem. Snack mindfully throughout your day to curb the urge to overeat. Giving your body what it wants (real whole, nutritious food) leaves you less risk of grappling with that ice cream craving. Eating in a mindless manor is a behavior that leads to more caloric dense numbers, and it adds up fast. Plan and schedule in your in-between healthy eats to tame temptation and create healthy food habits.
Athletes are not the only people who need stamina. Have you ever found yourself feeling like you wanted a nap midday, or skipping out on your workout because you were too tired? Active bodies are burning calories. Hunger means your system will be left to snack on whatever it can find. Prevent excessive drops in your blood sugar and maintain your metabolism by eating every 3-4 hours.
Hangry, you’ve heard of this, right? Cranky is one thing but angry from lack of food is just plain nasty. From an emotional outlook having some strategically scheduled snacks helps regulate your mood and even temperament. Maintaining focus and concentration during your day can get complicated if you’re running on fumes. Even worse? When we are hangry, we make silly snack choices like that handful of candy; it is a vicious cycle.
Make room in your medicine cabinets because if you’re meeting your RDA requirements, there is a pretty solid chance you will not need any additional supplements. The real bonus is that you will have more to spend on buying fresh organic food – boom! What’s the bottom line on snacking? Do it, but do it smart, do it scheduled, do it healthy, do it happy.