CNN reports that the increase of snacking in America has dramatically increased our average daily calorie intake, resulting in increased average weight. This information is decidedly contrary to the common assumption that increased portion sizes are chiefly responsible for the country’s weight predicament.
Dieters may be confused about the role of snacking in a healthy life. Pop diet wisdom leans toward the idea that everyone should be eating often in order to sustain metabolism. But the truth is, snacking is a delicate balance. Too much eating between meals, and total calories per day shoots through the roof. But there are still plenty of reasons to snack. Waiting too long without refueling can cause blood sugar lows, plus results in ravenous hunger that leads to bingeing. The secret is to choose smart snacks that maintain a healthy energy level and to avoid overly processed, high calorie, and fatty or sugary snack food.
Snacks for Health
The winners of every healthy food guide are the fruits and vegetables. These food groups provide important nutrients, fiber, and healthy carbohydrates for energy. If fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available to you, frozen produce often has similar nutrient content. Dried fruits can be a great option as well. Having fruit on hand is convenient for meals as well, and can be mixed into unlimited salads, served with meat dishes, and used for healthy desserts.
Snacks for Weight Loss
When the body has the fuel it needs, it is much easier to stay on track with dieting and exercise. Healthy snacking also supports metabolism. A good rule is to choose snacks with a mix of carbs, protein, and fiber. This combination supports energy and satiety. Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit is a quick and easy option, or try berries with yogurt or low-fat popcorn without butter.
Also remember that even a small, snack sized amount of an unhealthy food can add loads of empty calories to your diet. But with the right choices, snacking can support your balanced diet and weight loss goals.
- “Snacking, not portion size, largely driving U.S. overeating”, CNN Health