There is a lot of debate among health experts about whether snacking is good for us. Despite differing opinions, they can all generally agree that healthy, pre-planned snacks have their benefits. Here are 7 super ways to snack to benefit your health.
1. Having a snack of protein and carbohydrates within thirty minutes after a workout can help replenish your glycogen stores and help you prevent post-workout fatigue.
2. A snack of protein and carbohydrates after a workout can also help speed up muscle recovery. A snack within the first 60-90 minutes after a workout replaces the energy and nutrients needed to repair and build muscle.
3. Snacking can also help prevent a blood sugar slump. If you eat breakfast early or dinner late, you could benefit from a light snack halfway between meals. Aim for something with protein and complex carbohydrates for the slower release of energy that will tide you over until it’s time to eat again.
4. Snacks also help you supplement your nutrition throughout the day. Sometimes it’s hard to eat the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables, and proteins in three meals. Eating a healthy snack such as an apple with peanut butter or almonds helps you increase your fiber, vitamin, and mineral intake.
5. Choosing the right snacks at bedtime can improve your sleep. Look for snacks that include melatonin to make you sleepy or potassium and magnesium to promote muscle relaxation. Peanut butter, cheese, cherries, almonds, bananas, yogurt, and fortified cereal with milk are ideal bedtime snacks. Do avoid processed sugar and caffeine, though.
6. Eating snacks can actually increase your metabolism. Studies have shown that when we eat three large meals per day, our metabolism slows down between meals. When we eat every 3-4 hours, we cause our metabolisms to remain steady. So, snacking can burn more calories. It is important, however, to be careful to remain at or below one’s maintenance level of calories when eating more frequently.
7. Snacking can increase weight loss. In addition to speeding up the metabolism, it can also make you less likely to overeat at meals. If you allow yourself to become ravenous between meals, you are likely to make less healthy food choices. By preparing and consuming healthy snacks, you help yourself make better choices at mealtimes as well.
In order to reap the benefits of snacking, it is important to regulate calories and snack for nutrients. Experts recommend a snack be between 150-250 calories and that you be careful that snacks do not cause you to exceed your maintenance calories. If you are worried about making healthy decisions in the moment, pre-planning and storing healthy snacks wherever you might be hungry will help a lot. Superberries Aronia Berry Gummy Chews, made from Aronia berry concentrate, are perfect to have on hand. They come in 100-calorie packs, store well, are nutrient rich, and pair nicely with a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese.