I love chocolate. There, I said it.
So if you’re anything like me, you may have some challenges when it comes to snack choices. I’m always looking for something sweet, especially after dinner. I was doing my due diligence to make sure my meals were healthy, but by not planning my snacks, I was sabotaging my own efforts.
Your body does a pretty good job of regulating blood sugar and it’s a very efficient process (unless you are diabetic) assuming that you feed it the proper nutrients at regular intervals throughout the day. However, the typical American diet dictates that we eat three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In those three standard sittings, we’re sometimes overly hungry by the time we sit down to eat and wind up consuming more calories than we need. When we’re overly hungry, our blood sugar is lower and our body tries to compensate by craving calories quickly – usually empty ones – and we oblige. And the cycle continues…
The solution? Plan your snacks!
Ensuring that you have 2-3 healthy and gratifying snacks in your back pocket greatly minimizes your risk of overeating at mealtime. Our blood sugar begins to drop about two hours or so after we’ve finished our last meal.
1 – Mid-morning snack – eat it about 10-10:30 am and try something with calcium that’s low fat like yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese. The protein in these snacks fills you up to keep you satisfied to lunch.
2 – Mid-afternoon snack – eat around 3-3:30 pm. You want some belly-filling fiber here becuase this needs to carry you to dinner time. Try raw fruits or veggies because your body takes longer to break these down but they won’t weigh you down like the more complex carbs. Apples, bananas, carrot sticks, broccoli, etc. Extra pionts for a smear of protein like peanut butter or hummus. I also like a granola bar here – Kashi makes one with almonds and mocha…yum! Watch the sugar on these though – check the labels!
3 – After dinner snack – This one is tough for me and try not to eat it too late. About 8-8:30 should do it but if you’re hungry earlier that’s fine too. I like to have whole wheat pretzels or pita chips dipped in hummus, guacamole, or even salsa. You have a little bit of carb, little bit of protein, and it still feels like you’re having a fun snack. You can also have dried fruit. It’s gives you the sweetness without the unnecessary calories as long as you get the kine without the added sugar.