Snack Attacks are Good!
Everybody recalls a parent saying “Don’t eat that! It’ll spoil your dinner!!” (Maybe you grew up in house where people didn’t talk with so many exclamation points. You people can end those 2 sentences with periods.) As grown-ups, this warning is sound advice that works in your favor. This is a weapon in your arsenal in the ever present battle against over indulging every chance you get. Snacks are good- not evil. True, not all snacks are created equal so let’s sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I try very hard to make sure we eat every three hours. Four hours is pushing it and five is out of the question. Bad things happen when the Kuhel family goes without feeding for hours on end. I become intolerant, unreasonable, and unstable and, now that I think of it, so does everyone else in my house. Clearly we aren’t always able to time our snacks and meals this way, but we give it a good old college try.
What is a snack? It’s a mini-meal. Contrary to what you might believe, an apple does not make a snack. What seems to do the best job of keeping the troops happy is a combination of a protein, carb, and fat. So an apple becomes a snack when you pair it with piece of cheese or a couple of TBS of peanut butter.
Good snack combos that we like –
- Almonds and dry whole grain cereal
- Banana and string cheese
- Hummus and whole grain pita chips
- Apple and cheddar cheese
- Yogurt and granola
- Whole grain crackers and Laughing Cow cheese
- Bell peppers and hummus
- Milk and granola bar
- Banana with peanut butter and honey
- ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Walnuts and a pear
* Get ahead of the game by keeping a snack bag as an emergency stash in your car. Keep non-perishable snack combinations in snack size portions. This will keep you from careening into a drive through lane or stopping for gas and “a little something”. This will also save you from hearing the whining and crying from the backseat that is brought on by sudden hunger pangs also referred to as children that are “starving”. At home you should have fruit bowls out on the table with filled with hand sized fruit. Keep healthy snacks in the front of your pantry. Washed and cut veggies, baby carrots, sugar snap peas in the fridge make great grab – n- go snacks.
Bad snacks – things that are not as good as we believe them to be – Listen up people. The fact that a product has the word “fruit” in its name or has fruit pictured on the box, doesn’t make it healthy. Fruit snacks, yogurt covered raisins, fruit roll ups, fruit drink all fall in this category in my humble opinion. Check the amount of sugar (more than 8 grams) and how little fiber (<1 gram) it has and you’ll be flabbergasted, dumbfounded and a host of other things that mean disappointed and surprised. A good rule in general is to eat food that most resembles how it came to be on this earth. The less you do to a food the better.
Ugly snacks that we like but shouldn’t have too often – I don’t know that I really have to go over this with you. Put it this way. If somewhere in the recesses of your mind you hear “You shouldn’t be eating that.” ….well, then you shouldn’t be eating that. Let’s see what that list consists of -donuts, cookies, chips, cake, candy, anything with an ingredient list that has 10 unpronounceable items on it, etc. etc. Quit ignoring that little voice inside your head. It’s there for a reason.
So go ahead and snack smart. You will feel better for it. Think breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. You will probably eat more healthy calories and fewer unhealthy ones. You’ll have a better chance of increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, nuts and dairy. You won’t eat dinner like you’ve been away at sea for weeks. By now you know we are not a family of absolutes. We like our “ugly “ snacks but we have them pretty infrequently. Believe it or not, after a while you stop craving those kinds of snacks. Have them every so often so it doesn’t feel forbidden. Remember moderation is your friend. The words “always” and “never “ in the world of health and wellness don’t end in lasting change for the most part. So do what you can, when you can and know you did your very best.
Until next time…Live Well! – Toni Kuhel