You’ve probably noticed that some people eat frequently, yet avoid packing on pounds. Their secret lies in their snacking strategy! The word “snack” usually conjures up thoughts of junk foods such as candy, cookies, or chips. Forget that. Smart snacks play an important role in a healthy diet. They help keep your blood sugar stable, curb the urge to overeat, rev up your metabolism, and provide the fuel you need to feel alert and focused throughout the day.
Sensible snacks also fight mid-morning fatigue, mid-afternoon carb craving, and mindless evening grazing—one of the chief culprits in weight gain.
But how often should you snack to maintain or achieve a healthy weight and what should you eat? A study published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that both people whose weight was already normal and dieters who had successfully slimmed down ate more snacks, compared to overweight participants.
The researchers reported that the best eating plan for weight loss or maintenance was three meals and two snacks daily, which is also what I recommend in The Omni Diet and The Brain Warrior’s Way. Good times to snack are mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and late-afternoon. If you’re starving when dinnertime rolls around, you may need to add in an extra afternoon snack. But remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! It’s crucial to plan snacks in advance to avoid impulsive eating. Each snack should include:
- Protein: 7 to 10 grams (equal to about 2 tablespoons of hummus or guacamole or a slice of turkey or 2 tablespoons of whole, raw nuts or seeds).
- Healthy fats: 3 to 15 grams.
- Complex carbohydrates: 2 or 3 cups of raw or lightly steamed veggies. Go easy on fruit.
Never allow yourself to become too hungry. Planning and preparing your meals in advance is key. Always, always, always plan ahead! You will be less likely to be drawn into “zombie mode” and mindlessly munch when hungry, traveling or tired if you have healthy snacks prepared and ready to go.
I make sure to have healthy snacks with me wherever I go, and I encourage you to have healthy snacks, too. Make a list of healthy snacks that you love, and tape it to your refrigerator so you can be sure never to leave home without the healthy foods you need. Check out my selection of snacks on this website or grab yourself a copy of The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook for even more delicious snack recipes. And don’t forget to use my coupon code TANA21 for 21% off.