For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about how to eat right. As you recall, it all starts with a good, healthy breakfast. Unless you had the late night munchies (we’ll save that for another discussion), you’ve been fasting all night. Now it’s time to get your engine started.
You also learned you need to have a high quality starch, whole grains—for long lasting fuel; a low fat source of protein—for building muscle and bone; and some fresh fruit—for quick energy to get things going.
This applies equally to lunch and supper, but you can switch from fruit to greens—to get your vitamins and minerals. Some diet experts also recommend you leave off the starch at suppertime focusing more on protein & vegetables—a Mediterranean diet.
But what happens when you get hungry in between meals? Or if the meals are too big? Or worse, when you have a “train wreck”—like those donuts they brought to work, the mega candy bar from the gas station; or worse, that plate of chocolate chip cookies lovingly made for you by your wife!
The problem’s pretty simple, really. It’s a matter of fueling up more often. If you want to avoid train wrecks, you have to eat smaller meals with snacks in between. If you find yourself reaching for something, it’s because you probably do need something. What you have to do, is control what that something is! You’ve got to plan it out by having healthy snacks around.
Snacks should be about 150 calories for women, and 300 calories for men (sorry ladies). They should have protein—for building muscle and bone, and carbs—for fuel. The carbs can be complex like whole grains, or simple, like fruits.
Here are some great snack ideas for you. Slice up an apple with 1 tbsp of peanut butter (men can have 2 tbsp). Eat some fresh fruit with low fat yogurt or cottage cheese. Or, a ½ of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich on whole grain bread.
You can also have a meal replacement shake—not to replace meals, but as a healthy snack. You can even go with those pre-packaged fruit cups, but fresh is always better if you have a choice.
A lot of people are even eating those 100 calorie bite size snack packages, but be careful—make sure there aren’t any Trans Fats in them (but that’s another discussion, too). You can even consider your dessert as a snack, if the calories are right, and it’s low fat—one of my favorites is low fat frozen yogurt with strawberries!
Snacks will tide you over until your next meal and keep you from having a train wreck later! You’re meals will be filling and more satisfying, too. Next week—we’ll look at the role protein plays in a healthy diet. Now, I’ve got to go have my snack!