The Sinister Snacks!

26 08 2009

Hello!

It has been a crazy summer and I apologize for my absence from the blog, but fall reinvigorates us all!  I am back with more client questions, videos and more info than ever before!

One question I got consistently throughout the summer months was about snacking!  Ohh, the drama!  I get many clients asking what to do when their cravings get away from them and they find themselves vegging out on the couch with a huge bag of chips.  Worry not dear Body Templars, I have simple, easy and will-power free solutions for your snacking problems!

What to eat?  This is usually number one in the snacking inquiries.  What is a good snack, how much should I be eating and what should I avoid?

1. A good snack has a little bit of protein, a small amount of carbohydrates and little sugar, especially refined white sugar.  Some of my personal favs are

Apples and cheese ( or peanut butter)

Whole grain crackers and cheese ( cranberry cheese is the best!)

Whole grain toast with peanut butter ( add some hemp seeds for an extra boost)

A real smoothie ( only fruit, juice and yogurt or milk, no added sugars)

Sliced fruit of any description ( this is a great time to eat seasonally, so check out the farmer’s market or fruit market near you for delicious, fresh fruit)

Veggies & Dip

Half a sandwich or wrap

Peanut butter & banana ( no bread required, just spread a little peanut butter on the banana before each bite, no garbage to throw out either!)

2. How much should I eat?  A snack is called a snack for a reason!  This is not an excuse to take in a full meals’ worth of calories.  Television ads would have you believe that 100 calories is the most you would want in a snack, but I say it depends on what is in those 100 calories.  If you are eating a snack sized amount of Oreos, then yes, 100 calories should be your max, but if you are eating fruit or veggies as the bulk of the snack, you shouldn’t feel limited by the 100 calorie ideal.  I like to use a small plate ( ie dessert plate) or Tupperware container to figure out my portions.

Choosing a smaller plate or container will make it appear that your snack is larger than it is, which will keep you from second guessing your portions and eating twice as much as you need.  I generally say, if you can’t eat it all in under 10 minutes without having chipmunk cheeks, then you’ve got too much in front of you.

You can also use the ‘palm’ method.  Look at your hand face up, the palm of your hand shouldn’t be smaller than the super hero ingredient in your snack ( ie the banana in bananas and peanut butter) and you should have no more than 3 fingers worth of the side kick to your snack ( ie the peanut butter in the same scenario).  Your hand varies from mine, just like stomach size does, so use your own hand to measure if that is your choice.

3. What should you avoid?   I’ve touched on this already, trying to avoid refined sugars as well as white flour are a great start.  You also want to avoid eating anything that has no energy besides sugar, as it will give you that late afternoon crash when the glucose runs out, that’s why a little protein and a few carbs can go a long way.

I also like to avoid heavy things, like red meats as they take awhile to digest and can effect your appetite for dinner ( I know, I sound like your mother, warning you not to ruin your appetite).  This may sound good initially, as in, if you eat a larger snack and aren’t hungry for dinner, you’ll intake fewer calories over all.  However, this strategy always ends up backfiring because if you don’t eat enough at dinner  you often end up snacking again after dinner before bed.  For the majority of people, eating right before bed is the worst possible time to eat as your body is inactive at the time of digestion so no extra calories are burned and the food is converted to fat.  Not everyone is the same, but across the board, I think we can all agree it is healthier to eat a proper meal, that is well balanced at dinner time rather than eating a little bit of a well balanced meal at dinner and snacking later on whatever is available.

The final question I get frequently is about cravings and how to avoid the mindless or convenience snacking.  Many people get hungry around mid-afternoon, we already know that, so let’s use that to our advantage!

In the morning when you are making your breakfast, plan your afternoon snack, do any labour required for preparation and put the finished snack into a bowl or Tupperware container to await your cravings.  If you go to work, take the snack with you, and if you work from home, keep the snack at the front of the fridge until you get hungry.  By planning ahead, you have taken away the most common excuse for eating unhealthy snacks which is the old ‘But, I don’t have time…’ line.

If the snack is ready and waiting for you, you won’t be as tempted to just grab something from the store, vending machine or bag of chips that need no preparation and no time commitment.  Don’t give yourself the option of taking the easy way out and before you know it, you’ll be craving that afternoon peanut butter pick-me-up and sailing right by the vending machine without a thought!

The most important thing to remember is to set yourself up for success!  No one else will do it for you, there is no magic apple slicing fairy waiting in your cupboard for your orders.  Take charge of something simple like your snacks and before you know it you’ll be managing everything else with equal ease!

Please, send me your favorite afternoon snack and I’ll try them out, take pictures and post more great snack options in a future blog!

HAPPY SNACKING!

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