Let’s face it, snacking is just part of being human. It is enjoyable. It’s not a meal but it seems to soothe the need to eat something whether if it’s to resolve a craving (nutrient deficiency) or out of boredom we enjoy our snacks. Snacks tend to get a bad rap because more than likely growing up you could eat just about anything without worry except for maybe the dentist. Eating candy bars and chasing it down with a good ole Mountain Do soft drink.
Now as a responsible adult, all that sugar may not only add inches to the waistline it may trigger diabetes with far more serious consequences.
What causes cravings?
Cravings are caused by the need for the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin produced mainly in the gastrointestinal tract. A study had found that eating sugar and carbohydrates releases serotonin. Essentially we have been conditioned to liking those sugary and salty snacks.
Where a lot of people get into trouble with these little snacks of joy is in the mindless eating. This is sitting at your desk working away and eating mindlessly for the sake of some pleasure to go with your tasks. A shot of serotonin is a nice boost to offset the drudgery and stress of the day.
Or it could be the accompanying pleasure of watching TV getting relaxed being entertained. The brain has kicked off the pressure of work and now on cruise control. A nice treat would align nicely with the mindless stare at the idiot box. It is seemingly a simple pleasure but it is destructive to your body.
The problem is your adding additional calories to your day. The solution is to take those additional calories into consideration by eating the difference in your daily calorie budget. Don’t exceed your calorie budget.
At the end of the day, literally, a number of calories you took in is neutral, exceeded or less than the calories you burned off. If you exceeded you will more than likely add on weight. As you age this becomes exceedingly harder as your metabolism naturally slows down and chances are with your responsibilities your are not as active.
Hence, there is a good chance you’re going to gain weight as you age. Adding snacks here and there over time in a less active lifestyle is going to show up on your body in an ugly way. It’s not all at once but becomes noticeable over a relatively short period of time.
A good way to start to break the cycle is to get smart about it. You have to reduce calories while you know you’re going to snack.
- Use snack substitution. Healthy snacks tend to be lower in calories than sugary or salty junk food.
- Eradicate and commit to not eating sugary and nutritionally void snacks period.
- Use good snacks as a substitute in place of the junk.
- Make a list and have the snacks handy to make an easy transition.
Here are a few healthy snack ideas to get you started.
Roast Beef and Horseradish Cream on Pear
Mix together 1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream and 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish. Dividing evenly, top ½ sliced pear with 3 slices deli roast beef, the horseradish cream, and fresh herbs (such as chervil, parsley, or tarragon).
149 calories | 3 g fiber | 15 g protein | 4 g fat
Beet Chips With Curried Yogurt
Mix together 2 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek yogurt and ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon curry powder. Serve with 1 cup beet chips.
180 calories | 5 g fiber | 6 g protein | 11 g fat
Roulade is just a fancy name for a roll. The presentation of the food is part of the enjoyment of eating. Seeing something that looks good and then getting to have it makes it more enjoyable, and they have bite size appeal.
What You Need:
- 1 Cucumber;
- 1/2 cup Organic Cream Cheese;
- 3 slices Turkey Breast.
Slice the cucumbers lengthwise to form nice thin strips for rolling. Spread cream cheese onto the strips. Lay turkey onto the cream cheese. Roll up the cucumber strip until it looks something like a cinnamon roll.
If you can’t get the strips thin enough to roll, slice lengthwise thin slices and sandwich the ingredients.
Minty Pea Dip With Pretzel Chips
Mash ½ cup frozen peas with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice. Serve with 15 pretzel chips.
209 calories | 5 g fiber | 8 g protein | 0 g fat
Lemony Avocado With Endive Dippers
Mash ⅓ chopped avocado with 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and a pinch of kosher salt. Serve with endive leaves.
143 calories | 12 g fiber | 4g protein | 9 g fat
Frozen Yogurt With Blueberries and Cardamom
Top ½ cup vanilla frozen yogurt with ½ cup blueberries and a pinch of cardamom. Cardamon is very strong and aromatic. It has a spicy, herbal, citrusy character and goes very well with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and other aromatic spices.
182 calories | 2 g fiber | 4 g protein | 5 g fat
Sorta Fruity Salad
A fruit salad may provide antioxidants, but you generally feel like something is lacking. A fruit-ish salad using a leafy green as the base. Phytonutrients from the spinach join antioxidants from the berries. The dressing serves to make it all taste better. This is a strategic snack that can even be used as a lead-in to a meal, even if the meal is over an hour away.
What You Need:
- 1 cup Baby Spinach;
- 1/2 cup Strawberries;
- Organic Balsamic Dressing.
Create a bed of baby spinach. Top with berries. Drizzle with dressing.
31 calories | 2 g fiber | 1 g protein | 0 g fat
Celery Sticks With Hummus and Olives
Dividing evenly, top 3 celery sticks with 3 tablespoons hummus and 3 sliced kalamata olives.
129 calories | 5 g fiber | 5 g protein | 8 g fat
Sweet Potato Fries With Chipotle Yogurt
Cook 14 frozen sweet potato fries according to the package directions. Mix together 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt and ½ teaspoon chipotles in adobo sauce and serve for dipping.
208 calories | 3 g fiber | 3 g protein | 10 g fat
Spicy Watermelon and Pistachios
Toss 2 cups cut-up watermelon with 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and ½ teaspoon grated lime zest. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons chopped unsalted roasted pistachios.
126 calories | 2 g fiber | 3 g protein | 3 g fat
Whole-Grain Bread With Almond Butter and Peaches
Spread 2 teaspoons almond butter on 1 slice toasted whole-grain bread. Top with ½ sliced peach.
135 calories | 3 g fiber | 6 g protein | 7 g fat
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