The term “snack foods” is often used to refer to processed, high-calorie items like crisps and cookies. To be defined as a snack, the snack generally has 200/250 calories or less per serving, anything more is considered a meal. There are mixed opinions about snacking, some believe that it’s healthy, while others think it can harm you and make you gain weight. However, snacking simply means to eat or drink something between meals, regardless of whether the food is healthy.
There are several reasons why we snack – boredom is one of the most common reasons for unconscious snacking but factors like location, social environment, habit association i.e. at the cinema, time of day and food availability contribute as well.
In general, it’s best to eat snacks that provide about 200 calories and at least 10 grams of protein to help you stay full until your next meal. Think ahead and plan to have a healthy snack handy – preferably, one you really like – choosing nourishing whole foods is best, be sure to have a mix of good carbs, healthy fats and protein will help keep your body and mind energised.
Don’t skip meals, skipping meals just makes you so hungry that you’re vulnerable to overeating later in the day. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner do your best to create well-balanced meals. Dehydration can also present itself as hunger, before you snack, ask yourself, “Am I truly hungry?” Have a glass of water first, you may find that after a drink you aren’t feeling as hungry anymore.
Snacking may not be good for everyone, but it can definitely help some people avoid becoming ravenously hungry, which sometimes leads to overeating later on in the day. Your number of snacks varies based on your activity level and meal size. If you’re very active, you may prefer 2 snacks per day, while a more sedentary person may do best with 1 or no snacks.
In the end, it really is a personal choice – but the quality of snacks are important so make sure to choose healthy foods that keep you full and satisfied.
Be sure to check out some great healthy snack recipe ideas at http://www.activate.ie/