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Is snacking good or bad?

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Dear <<First Name>>,

Do you snack? Want to know if it helps or hurts your weight loss efforts?

There seems to be a big divide between those who think snacking is a good thing and those who think snacking is bad. To some, snacking means “eating when you’re not hungry” – which, of course, is “bad”. To others, snacking means “eating a lot of snack foods” – certainly not a good thing if you’re loading up on unhealthy snack foods like chips, cookies and candy.

But when snacking is done correctly, it can be a healthy habit that may actually help you manage your weight and balance your diet. 

Five Reasons Why Snacking Can Be a Healthy Habit 

1. Smart snacking may prevent you from overeating at meal time. Most people get hungry about every 3-4 hours. So, if there’s a long stretch between meals, you’re likely to get hungry – which is why a snack would be appropriate. But if you resist the urge to snack and try to “tough it out”, there’s a good chance you’ll just make up for it by overeating at your next meal.

2. Smart snacking can help you reduce your overall calorie intake for the day. Many people think that if they add snacks to their day, that it means adding extra calories on top of everything they are consuming at meals. But, if a well-planned, healthy snack helps you eat less at mealtimes, then you may end up cutting your daily calories overall.

3. Smart snacking can help you to work more healthy foods into your day. The more eating opportunities you have during the day, the easier it is to work in your daily servings of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and calcium-rich dairy products.

4. Snacks can help you maintain your physical and mental energy. When you eat regular meals and snacks, it can help keep your blood sugar more stable throughout the day – a good defense against between-meal dips in blood sugar that can sap your mental and physical energy.

5. A substantial afternoon snack can help control portions at dinner – which tends to be the largest meal of the day. Lots of people manage to control their eating pretty well during the day, but really cut loose at night and eat a huge dinner. For those folks, a larger afternoon snack makes it much easier to cut back at the evening meal. 

 

When Is the Snacking Habit Not Healthy? 

You might want to take a closer look at your snacking habits if:

You’re eating unhealthy, high calorie foods like sweets, chips and sodas. Not only can these high calorie snack foods contribute to weight gain, they offer little – if any – nutritional value.

– You’re eating for reasons other than hunger. Snacking wisely means that you choose healthy foods to eat in between meals to help control your appetite and meet your nutritional needs. But if you tend to snack when you’re not hungry – maybe you’re bored, stressed, angry or tired – it’s a habit you might want to think about breaking. 

What Makes a Snack Healthy? 

One reason snacking has gotten such a bad reputation is because so many common ‘snack foods’ are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. You’ll want to steer clear of those, and instead put together a snack that will provide a mix of low fat protein and healthy carbohydrate. The carbs will get digested first and satisfy your hunger right away, and the protein will give your snack a bit more staying power. 


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Yours in health,
Health & Wellness Expert
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