How to Optimize Snack Time
The snack industry is a vast one. I mean, just go into your grocery store, how many aisles are dedicated to snacks (chip aisle, candy aisle, cookie aisle, bakery aisle, etc)? Science however says there is conflicting evidence on the benefits of snacking. Yes, it can help in controlling appetite but at the same time, when snacking is done poorly, it also creates an opportunity to consume more sodium, fat and sugar. There is really no consensus on an ideal meal pattern and if 3 meals versus 3 meals with snacks in between are beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. It really comes down to what fits in your lifestyle and the quality of the foods you consume throughout the day. If you feel that noshing on snacks in between meals helps you boost your nutrient intake while preventing you from overeating at the next meal and it fits in your daily schedule, then snacks sound like a good fit for you.
My #1 rule is that snacks should always serve a purpose.
What snacks should not be:
- a pastime
- consumed mindlessly
- an activity when you’re feeling overly emotional
- eaten when you are not hungry
What snacks should be:
- an opportunity to meet your daily food group needs
- a tactic if you repeatedly find yourself eating ravenously at the next meal
- a way to fuel your body after strenuous activity if you don’t foresee yourself eating a meal within 30-45 minutes
There is a special formulation to optimize snack-time. That is, pairing fiber with a protein or pairing fiber with a fat. See below for examples.