The word “snack” typically has a negative association attached to it. Most people hear that word and think of it as what NOT to do- but not in a Dietitian’s world! To us, snacking is essential to keeping our metabolism and energy high!
But what does that mean? Grab a bag of chips from the vending machine? Steal a piece of candy off a co-worker’s desk? Nope. Snacks should be planned exactly the way meals should be. They should be a purposeful part of the day, and not a last minute “pick me up” or “hold me over” thing.
I have 3 rules for snacking.
#1: Use fresh and whole foods as much as possible
#2: Always include both protein and carbs
#3: Make sure the snack is both nourishing AND enjoyable!
The second rule is the most important if you want increased energy and metabolism, more willpower, better stress management, and more staying power- meaning you’re not starving by your next meal. When we eat a carb- any kind of carb, good or bad- our blood sugar spikes really high, really fast. Then it crashes just as quickly, but much lower than it started out. This causes an energy crash, low blood sugar, and overeating at the next meal. When we eat a protein, our blood sugar doesn’t increase at all, again keeping us too hungry to control portions at our next meal, manage our stress, or increase our energy. But when the protein is eaten WITH the carb… now we’re on track! The protein molecules actually stick to the carbohydrate molecules, which makes the carb raise our blood sugar much more slowly AND prevents it from crashing back down.
So what kind of snacks include carbs and protein? Examples include fruit and nuts, apple/banana and peanut butter, fruit and cheese, and greek yogurt! Also try wheat thins or triscuits with cheese, peanut butter, hummus or even avocado. There are many other carb+protein snacks. You can also treat raw veggies as the carb and add hummus or cheese!
Some of my favorite variations are:
- Pears + ricotta cheese + cinnamon (also try drizzling just a little honey!)
- Apple + almond butter
- Tomatoes + mozzarella cheese + balsamic vinegar
- Carrots + hummus
- Wheat thins + avocado/guacamole
Sign up for my mailing list here and get more ideas in my Snacking Happy handout!
Thanks everyone! Hope you have an amazing weekend 🙂