Snacking often gets a bad rap and it shouldn’t. It’s been proven that snacking boosts metabolism, keeps mood levels stable, helps people eat less at meal times and keeps cravings at bay. Nutrient-dense snacking during a family vacation not only deters hunger from hampering an itinerary, it also can allow for quicker adjustment to a new time zone—when done properly.
As we age, snacking needs to done with care. My 40s metabolism has kicked in and I only half of a thyroid which seems to have slowed my metabolism down. I need to get smarter about snacking and have a deeper appreciation for pre-packaged healthy foods like Shine Organics that are already portioned and packed with vitamins.
These tips for healthy snacking serve as good reminders for those, like me, who are striving to be more mindful about it.
Think about the day’s itinerary in advance and bring a snack if the time between meals is longer than usual. Or, if you’re going to be more active than normal… put a snack in your handbag to avoid purchasing something far less nutritious or becoming irritable.
Always Maintain Portion Control
Single-serve snacks along with those measured out in advance ensure that calorie intake is regulated. Eat from a big bag of snacks—even if it’s some kind of healthy-ish unbuttered popcorn—because it’s far too easy to overeat when it’s difficult to measure exactly how much you’re actually taking from the bag.
UC San Diego Student Health maintains a great list of snacks that are 200 calories or less.
Snack Only when Hungry
It’s taken a while for me to learn the difference between being physically hungry and bored enough to eat something. When that peckish, fidgety hunger strikes, I walk the dog or get up and do something to distract my mind from the pantry.
(The only time I snack when not hungry the day after a long haul flight when I’m trying to adjust my appetite to a new time zone. Waking up hungry in the middle of the night, when you’d normally be having lunch, is a big contributor to jet lag.)
Multitaskers (like me) tend not to snack efficiently because we’re so busy juggling tasks that we tune out when snacking. This means we don’t always register mentally that we just ate something and can lose track of portion size if sitting in front of say a bowl of trail mix.
Eating is meant to be enjoyed so take a moment to pause for a minute to refuel. People who eat without distraction feel more satisfied and eat less later in the day, according to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition referenced by Eating Well.
Use Snacks to Supplement
Maybe you ran out the door after a bowl of cereal and could use some extra protein. Perhaps lunch was carb-heavy so a light green salad or fruit are in order later. Use snacks as an opportunity to supplement whatever is missing from the day’s diet.
Apparently, studies have shown that people who chew 30 seconds or longer before swallowing, eat less in a day. While it sounds a bit labor-intensive, this could tune your mind into what exactly you’re snacking on, as mentioned above. I just say, eat more slowly and chew a bit longer than you otherwise would.
Keep Healthy Snacks in Sight
Don’t let your mind drift off into the freezer where ice cream and who only knows what else is in there. Keep a fruit bowl on the kitchen island. Apparently, there is research that says people who have a fruit bowl exposed weigh 8 pounds less than those who don’t. (On the flip side, the same article mentions that women who have a cereal in sight average 21 pounds heavier). When on the go, this means keeping a healthy snack in your handbag.
Drink Naturally Flavored Water
Perhaps it’s psychosomatic but it doesn’t really matter. Adding fruit and/or herbs to water (lemon water, lime water, cucumber water) not only makes it more flavorful but tends to keep me full. You might be surprised by how much more satisfied you feel and it does help mitigate snacking due to boredom. I ask for a side of lemon in restaurants, in hotels and even on the plane. Try it alone or in conjunction with a snack.
Snack with Shine Organics
These adult snacking pouches are designed for adult taste buds in mind with a special blend of organic fruits and vegetables, featuring additional purposeful ingredients—which happen to be organic and gluten-free—to feed the moment. I like them as a solution because you can toss on in your handbag and eat it if hungry and it won’t spoil should you decide to save it for later.
I’m packing a box to take to Barcelona in a few weeks when I’ll need easy snacks to carry in my handbag for preventing jet lag. The four flavors include:
- PURIFY: Apple, Guava, Kale, Strawberry, Parsley, Chia
- ELEVATE: Banana, Carrot, Mango, Orange, Wheatgrass, Turmeric, Chia
- REVIVE: Pear, Celery, Coconut, Lime, Green Tea, Chia
- CALM: Banana, Pumpkin, Coconut, Blackberry, Vanilla, Passion Flower, Chia
Shine Organics pouches have 70 – 130 calories each and are available at Target and other select grocers nationwide with a suggested retail price of $5.99 for a 4-pack and $1.69 for singles of 4.22 oz. pouches.
They’re also very tasty. I’d rather have one of these than drink a green juice.
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