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Snacking Strategies
5 Smart Snacking Tips

Smart Snacking
Peanut butter on an apple is a delicious snack.

Snacks are a good way to lose weight AND they’re partially responsible for America’s growing obesity problem. Confused? To understand this contradiction, you need to know a historical trend.

Americans are eating about one-third more calories than they did 30 years ago. Researchers found the single biggest increase is from the number of snacks people eat each day. On average, Americans have gone from eating 3.8 snacks a day in the 1970s to 4.9 in the 2000s. That increase in calories, without any increase in activity, has led to ever expanding waistlines.

That doesn’t mean snacking is a bad thing. In fact, a study at Pennsylvania State University found that people, who snacked on a raw apple 15 minutes before a meal, ate 187 calories LESS at the meal than people who had applesauce, juice or nothing. The participants ate about one and a half apples, totaling 125 calories. That means the apple eaters, ate 62 calories less overall, than the ones who only ate the meal.

By using strategic snacking, such as eating a little bit before you go out to dinner, you can reduce the urge to binge. That’s how snacking is supposed to work.

Nutritionists like to think of a snack, as a small portion of food eaten between meals. But with the modern “food is everywhere” society we now live in, we no longer have periodic snacks. We do something called “grazing.” Everywhere we go, from the gas station, to the hardware store to the office supply store, we’re confronted with food. We grab a little something here and a little something there. We continue to eat, not because we’re hungry, but because the food is in front of us.

To get your snacking under control, try some of these smarter snacking strategies.

Clean out your kitchen and anywhere else unhealthy snacks are hiding. Go through the cupboards and refrigerator. Get rid of the overly processed things, your trigger foods and sugar filled sodas. Toss out the traditional three C’s of snacking: chips, candy and cookies. You’re less likely to eat it if it’s not around.

Make a snack plan. Pick out and prepare these better choices in advance.

  • Buy complex carbs like a slice of whole-grain bread or cereals. Combine that with something that’s protein rich like a lower fat cheese, lowfat Greek yogurt or peanut butter. The combination of protein and complex carbs will help trigger a feeling of “full” so you don’t want to keep eating.
  • Cut up and package vegetables to munch on. Adding dips like a little hummus are fine, but avoid the higher calorie dressings.
  • Bring along fruit to enjoy when you’re craving something sweet. Apples with peanut butter, grapes with cheddar cheese and clementines are all delicious.

Practice portion control. Your snacks don’t have to fill you up. Anything more than about 200 calories is becoming a meal; so add it up before you pack it up.

Don’t just grab an entire bag of grapes, that’s probably going to have too much sugar. Measure out how much you’re going to eat first and then put it in an individual serving container for later. A lunch box with an ice pack is great for keeping things fresh.

Pay attention to what you’re eating. When you’re sitting in front of the television, it’s easy to mindlessly stuff your face. Pledge to yourself that you’ll appreciate the food while you eat it. Savor the taste and enjoy the break. Not only will your stomach appreciate it, but your mind will too.

Drink more water. Diet drinks seem like a guilt-free option, but they are known to trigger cravings. It’s best to drink them sparingly, and then just as a treat.

Don’t be afraid of feeling a little hungry. It’s natural to have your stomach grumble if you haven’t eaten in a couple hours. The key is spacing out your snacks so they put a lid on the cravings between meals, without packing on calories.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

3/17/2018