Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snacking 101

Imagine this: it's only two hours since you last ate and you're practically starving! You feel slow and tired, you're craving a muffin or cookie or soda or coffee or chips or .... Ok. Almost anything. I'm sure you're not a fan of sitting at your desk struggling to focus, feeling hazy and heavy midday at your computer. What's the deal? Why do I feel like a lump? And what the heck should I snack on to get back to feeling sharp, motivated and energetic?

Learning how to eat and snack well during the day can help prevent overeating later, will keep you focused and alert at work and play, and will keep you in a cheerful and optimistic mood. And who isn't happier feeling happier?

This feeling of sagging energy (which I find often sneaks up on me mid-afternoon) generally comes from having low blood sugar. We've had breakfast or lunch and our body has already used up what we've given it and is feeling LOW and SLOW. It's the time when my body most often is screaming for sugar. It's important to realize that what it really needs is energy, and sugar is only a quick fix that won't last you till the next meal.

Our bodies are excellent at quickly using sugar for energy - this is why we crave it when we're at our lowest. But it's also why eating a carb-heavy snack might only help us for the next 20 minutes before we're hungry again. Adding protein to your meals (first and foremost) and your snacks will help slow down your digestion of sugars, keep your blood sugar stable, and have you feeling satisfied and motivated for longer.

Here are some fun and simple snack ideas that have protein to keep you running:

- Almond or peanut butter with an apple, dates/dried fruit, sweet potatoes, rice cakes
- Ants on a log! (Ah, nostalgia in a snack: celery logs with peanut butter and raisins...)
- Hummus with carrots, peppers, cucumbers, celery, 100% whole grain pita/toast/crackers
- Organic plain yogurt with fruit, drizzle of honey, nuts, seeds
- Nuts and seeds with fruit (aka make your own trail mix!)
- Canned salmon or sardines on crackers, toast, or wrapped in lettuce
- Small amount of organic cheese with fresh fruit or veggies
- Edamame
- Smoothie with almond/nut butter, chia or flax seeds, cinnamon
- Leftover grains with a sprinkle of nuts/seeds, nutritional yeast
- Small piece of lean meat or fish with fresh cut veggies
- Bean burger or a falafel with pickles or sauerkraut
- Hard-boiled egg

Think ahead! If you know you get hungry at work and there won't be anything healthy available, pack a stash along with you. Making healthy choices can sometimes be all about forethought and knowing yourself and your needs.

What snacks do you love that keep you going? How do you keep yourself fueled?

No comments:

Post a Comment