5 Ways to Snack Smartly, Healthily and Effectively

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Snacking is good because you can supply your body with the right nutrients in addition to what you get from your regular healthy meals. However, snacking is not good if you are indulging in it because it became a habit or your snacking is due to emotional eating. If you want to snack effectively, healthily and smartly, there are lots of options available, as long as you choose the right kind of snack food.

Knowing when to snack and what to snack on makes you a smart snack eater. Here are a few tips to snack healthily and effectively.

1.  Snack only when you are truly hungry
When you are thinking too much or you're too busy, you use up more energy, which can make you hungry faster. When your next mealtime is hours away, you must plan your snacking so you won't end up eating junk. Feel satisfied with a combo snack containing fat, protein and carbohydrate. Have some grapes for carbohydrate and a few nuts for fat and protein. Or eat some whole grain crackers for carbohydrate and low-fat cheese for protein and fat. You can test if you are hungry by drinking a cup of tea or a glass of water first. If this does not fill you up, then have a snack.

2.  Snack to raise the level of your blood sugar
If you have a meal that is high in sugar or starch, it is possible to have low blood sugar shortly after you've eaten, which can make you hungry. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can make you feel nauseous. Have some carrot sticks or an apple to raise the level of your blood sugar. You can also have two tablespoons of raisins. Never eat sugary food because the imbalance will only continue.

3.  Snack when you are low on energy
The calories in your food are what give you energy. If you feel tired easily, this does not mean that you have low blood sugar. Rather, you did not have enough calories from the food you have eaten at mealtime. Do not drink coffee when you feel tired. Have a banana or an apple instead and drink lemon water. You can also eat half of a turkey sandwich or a few walnuts and almonds.

4.  Do not snack the entire day
You can still overeat if you continue to snack throughout the day. It is not recommended that you have several snacks a day. You have to give your stomach time to empty before you eat again. A small amount of food as your snack is to ensure that you do not completely go hungry until your next meal. You can actually eat every 3-4 hours. After four hours, the level of your blood sugar drops. The founder of BZ Nutrition based in New York, Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D., M.P.H., C.D.N., recommends that you eat breakfast 30 minutes after you get up and then have a snack or meal every 3 to 4 hours until dinner time. Wait at least 30 minutes after dinner before you go to bed so you can properly digest your food.

5.  Be mindful while snacking
Treat your snack as a small meal and pay attention to it. Do not snack while you are doing something, like working at your desk, watching TV or surfing the Internet. It is best that you stop whatever you are doing and concentrate on your snack. This is called mindful eating, which helps make your snack food satisfying. Moreover, if you're paying attention to your snack, you avoid overeating.

Plan your snacks like you plan your regular meals. Ensure that you choose food items that will provide protein, fiber, and carbohydrate to keep you going. Snack smartly, healthily and effectively by learning to choose the healthy food substitutes to what you were used to previously.

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