Losing Weight - Redirecting Your Snacking Habit
Snacking is a pretty natural impulse. While we may be accustomed to three meals a day as a standard practice, our body is actually functioning nonstop. It will process food whenever it's put into the system, and it uses up energy without ceasing. Even when you're asleep, your brain is drawing on your body's energy reserves.So it really shouldn't be a surprise that we find ourselves hungry between our regularly scheduled meals. Instead of providing a steady, reasonable supply of nutrients for our system to constantly work on, we often cram it with large doses that it has to work overtime to process at three intervals. The result typically is highs and lows of sugar and energy, and we get snack cravings.When integrated into a larger proper diet, snacking is not a bad thing and actually can be quite healthy. Snacks help even out those crash periods between meals, allowing your body to function more steadily. The key is that we often choose to snack on unhealthy foods heavy in sugars and calories, but low on overall nutrients. By making a few simple changes, you can turn your snacks into an ally rather than a hindrance. Take on some smart snacking tactics-like the ones highlighted here-for six weeks to kick-start a lifelong habit of healthy eating and feeling great. Snack Habit #1 - A Healthy SandwichThe first snack you should consider is a whole grain sandwich. The contents are up to you, but there are a few simple guidelines. Meats should be low in fat, such as turkey or chicken breast. Lettuce is great filler, as are sliced green or red peppers. Go easy on the condiments, as these can sneak carbohydrates into your system without your realizing it. The fiber in whole grain breads helps slow digestion and promotes fullness, meaning you won't get hungry as often. The carbohydrates in the bread will give you an energy pickup as well, keeping you alert and ready for your day.This is a very easy habit to get into, requiring only a few minutes each day. Make your sandwich for the next day every night, and cut it in half so you can enjoy it at two different snack times. Put it somewhere you'll remember to grab it, and you're ready to go. Definitely go for some variety as well. There are many sandwich recipes out there, and part of successfully adopting new habits is making sure they're fun and interesting for you, as well as beneficial.As for people who cannot process wheat flour, consider breads made with almond flour. This is a delicious gluten-free flour that won't interfere with your wheat allergies, and still let you take advantage of a snack sandwich.Snack Habit #2 - Go a Little NutsAnother great snack to focus on is a serving of healthy nuts. Nuts tend to be high in fat content, meaning they're an easy source of quick energy when you're feeling a bit of a slump. These fats are also usually mono-unsaturated fats, which are 'good' fats responsible for lowering LDL cholesterol levels. This means a small handful of nuts between your bigger meals can quell sugar cravings while keeping you healthy.Hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts are very nutrient-rich snacks, and are easily available. Getting into a nutty habit is also really easy. Just pack a few small bags of nuts at the beginning of your week, and bring them with you on your daily tasks. Try to focus on low salt varieties of course, for the sake of preventing high blood pressure.Snack Habit #3 - The Sugar YoYo and YogurtSometimes all your body wants and needs is a quick sugar boost, and only sugar is going to help it. However your source of sugar doesn't have to be a highly processed candy bar or can of soda.At the beginning of your week, buy a few cups of yogurt in flavors you like. Yogurt is high in pro-biotics that promote digestive health, as well as other important nutrients based on the fruit content in the cup. If your body starts to crash, having a handy pick me up like a yogurt cup means you can snack quickly and get yourself back on track.One word of caution: Many yogurts can be high in sugar and sugar syrups such as high fructose corn syrup. This is less ideal than if the sugar comes from the fruit itself. Check the list of ingredients, and if corn syrup or sugar is in the first three ingredients, pass it up.Snack Habit #4 - Snack PackThe key to forming good habits is making sure they're practical. If you try to make healthy snacks, but they keep spoiling or getting too warm to be palatable, you're probably going to give up before making it a habit. Consider buying yourself a small cooler or insulated bag to pack your snacks in. This will help keep everything at an even temperature, making the snacks crisp and tasty enough to enjoy, as well as storing them in a convenient place.You probably didn't expect to be encouraged to keep snacking, did you? Actually one of the best ways to build a healthy lifestyle is to take the habits you already have, such as snacking, and turn them in healthier directions. This empowers you to easily adopt positive habits that fit within your life instead of allowing bad habits to takeover. Consider trying out these steps for six weeks, and the results will speak for themselves.