Since meals tend to be spaced four to five hours apart, it is natural for you to feel hungry in between. If you ignore those hunger pangs, you may pay in feeling sluggish. Your body needs energy, and a nutritious snack can be just the thing to provide it. Without that snack, you may find yourself overeating at your next meal because your hunger will be more intense. That behavior can lead to weight gain. Snacking can be good for your waistline depending on the snack foods you choose.
Choose snack foods that not only leave you feeling satiated but also boost your nutrient intake. Eating raw vegetables may be nutritious, but probably will not keep you feeling full until your next meal. Sweet treats digest quickly, so they might not hold you over until the next meal either. They also do not help your nutrient intake.
So what should you eat? If you like to bake, homemade muffins or banana bread would be a nice treat. Try using whole-grain flour instead of white flour. When baking at home, you can control the amount of fat, sugar, and salt making them a healthy alternative.
Many fruits can satisfy our sugar cravings while supplying fiber and vitamin C. Bananas, apples, and pears can leave your feeling full and are easy to pack for work. Grab a dried fruit and nut mixture for extra nutrition and an energy boost. There are a variety of smoothies on the market. Look for those containing whole fruit pulp for the fiber.
Do you work out or play sports after school or work? You will want a snack that will give you energy and help you stay full until a later dinner. Some protein and calcium are needed in these circumstances. A banana yogurt drink has protein and calcium along with carbs. Hummus has protein so you could have it with vegetables such as carrots or cucumbers. Toast some whole-grain bread and spread with peanut butter. You will have the energy you need as well as nutrients essential for muscles and bones.
People snack for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is boredom, and sometimes you feel hungry, but need hydration instead. Try to avoid getting into these habits regularly as they can lead to eating snacks like cookies or ice cream which could lead to weight gain. Set certain times of the day for your snacking such as between meals, and make sure there are nutritious varieties available.
Snacking is good for you and should be encouraged between meals, so you have the energy to get through the day and not overeat during meals. Just be aware of what you are eating. Snacks loaded with protein and fiber will leave you feeling satiated and give you the energy to get through the next couple hours until mealtime.
Including some fruits and vegetables will help you meet your daily requirement of those nutrients. Nuts are good for your heart and contain protein. Keep these available at work and at home to avoid the sweet and salty snacks loaded with fat.