TIPTIME: Snacks are Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

When most people think of snacking, they think it’s something you should avoid at all costs if you want to get fit and healthy. The reality is, snacking is your friend, not your enemy. The key here is what exactly it is you’re snacking on.

Obviously if you’re using fried or sugary foods like donuts or chocolate bars to keep yourself satiated through the day, you’re doing it wrong.

It’s important to snack through the day, to keep your energy levels high and also prevent yourself from gorging on oversized meals later on, out of hunger. Portion control is so important for proper health and for getting in shape, so you don’t ever want to have that “I’m starving” feeling, because then you’ll just end up gorging at your next meal, which leads to an excess of calories, not to mention bloating and over time, makes your body accustomed to eating more than necessary which is going to cause nothing but trouble. Snacking between meals means you will eat less at meal time, helps ensure you get optimum daily nutrition each day, and it also helps keep your metabolism burning at a consistent level. This is really important, because messing up your metabolic rate is definitely not a good thing, especially when you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape.

Just choose healthy snacks. That’s all there is to it. It’s really that simple. A handful of raw almonds, a couple of rice cakes (I like mine with a bit of Frank’s hot sauce drizzled on top; I really do put it on everything), or even a small scoop of some natural peanut butter. Here are just a few other ideas for healthy, well-proportioned snacks you can nosh on through the day:

    1 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup blueberries
    1/2 Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup berries
    1 peach
    2 cups plain popcorn
    1 cup chocolate milk with 5 strawberries
    2 stalks celery, chopped, with peanut butter and raisins
    1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
    10 tofu sticks
    20 sweet potato fries
    1 protein bar (some can be just as high in sugar and fat as a regular candy bar, so ALWAYS read over the label and find a quality, high-protein bar that is good for you)

Especially when it comes to snacks, meal planning is a great idea. This helps you plan ahead so you don’t waste valuable time searching through your cupboards for something to eat every day, and also helps you stay on track with your nutrition and fitness goals. It’s also great if you’re someone who counts their macros, because you can plan everything ahead of time and not always feel so stressed out with so much on your plate. You have 15 or 20 minutes to spare on a Sunday afternoon? Or maybe you got off work early one Tuesday? Take a bit of time to do some meal planning and trust me, you’ll be so glad you did.

Once you realize how important snacking is, you can take that next step and start ensuring you are giving your body the fuel it needs, not just 3 times a day for the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, but in between those meals as well.

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