One of the first things people will do when they feel out of control around food is try not to snack as much. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are staple meals that are natural to eat, but there’s no dedicated snack time. So it begs the question, is snacking good for you? I’ll tell you why you should snack more.
Blood sugar is a key factor in how you feel throughout the day. What level your blood sugar is at relates to how you feel…
- If your blood sugar is too high, you may feel antsy, anxious, overstimulated, and/or hyperactive. Picture a “sugar high” and a child running around after having too much candy.
- If your blood sugar is too low, you may feel tired, irritable, slow, and/or shaky. This has become referred to often as “hanger.”
Your body has a set point that it wants your blood sugar level to be at. This is the point where you feel normal and able to continue on with your day. Without you needing to do anything, your body works to keep your blood sugar in this happy place. This is what we call blood sugar regulation.
Your blood sugar levels naturally drop as you go about your day. Food provides the sugar required for heathy blood sugar regulation. Which means, the longer you go without eating, the lower your blood sugar levels may get. Eating about every 4-5 hours can be beneficial for blood sugar regulation. Having a snack between meals helps to keep your mood and energy steady.
Different food contains different amounts of sugar. This means that different foods will impact our blood sugar differently. The simplest way to look at this is macronutrients. There are 3 nutrients that our bodies need the most of to function, called macronutrients. They are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Of the 3 macronutrients, carbohydrates contain the most sugar. This means they will raise our blood sugar most. For this reason, try to avoid eating carbohydrates alone. Carbohydrates include foods like fruits, breads, pastas, rice, chips, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, etc.
Here’s an example of what a day of eating can look like to keep blood sugar levels stable:
7 AM – You have a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with strawberries for breakfast.
11 AM – Lunch is a wrap with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and buffalo sauce with grapes.
3 PM – Snack time, having an individual container of guacamole with a serving of crackers.
6 PM – You eat pork chops with mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner. Plus, maybe some dark chocolate for dessert.
Looking at the example above, I want you to think about your daily eating habits and how you feel throughout the day…could you be going too long without eating and need a snack?
If you’re ready to start snacking more, here are 5 healthy snack ideas to try:
1) plain Greek yogurt + blueberries with a sprinkle of cinnamon
2) snack mix of popcorn + pistachios + raisins
3) a banana + natural peanut butter
4) a hard-boiled egg + crackers
5) cottage cheese + pineapple
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