Go Ahead & Snack: Why munching throughout the day is good for you
People from the Blue Zone, the regions of the world where people live longer, have several things in common. Besides getting enough sleep and eating healthy, they also eat small meals and refrain from overindulging. How do they keep from building up an overwhelming appetite? They snack throughout the day, keeping their tummies full and eating less during normal meal times.
When you starve yourself in between meals, you tend to eat more, gobbling your food down quickly and having little regard for how healthy the food is which you are eating. After you scarf down an x-large order of French fries with a side of a chocolate shake, the guilt sets in. Guess what? It is too late to do anything about it. You already ate it all down.
What you can do is become proactive and teach yourself to eat healthy throughout the day, snacking every couple of hours. The important thing is to eat the right snacks. Otherwise, you will hinder all the benefits such as achieving a healthy weight, reducing your chances of developing of a life-changing illness, and increasing your lifespan.
Ideally, fruits and vegetables are the best options but they are not always the most convenient to cart around or store at your desk or in your backpack. This is when it is most important to know what is good for you and what just appears so. For example, packaged cheese crackers are full of calories and trans fat. Baked cheese crackers have no protein and fiber, thus providing you with little in nutritional value. Most potatoes chips give you nothing but empty calories.
If you must snack out of a vending machine, look for alternate choices. Sunflower kernels are full of healthy fats. Pretzels, baked chips, and reduced-fat popcorn are full of fiber. Granola bars go a long way in satisfying your hunger without adding the pounds to your waist.
When you can incorporate vegetables into your snack time, you can change things up by eating cheese or nuts with them. While these do add calories, they also are a good source of calcium and good fats. Hummus can also jazz things up, just make sure to read the label to check sodium and trans fat content.
When you snack throughout the day, you will gain the willpower to eat smaller meals, especially at night when eating more is worse for you. You will feel full faster and have a higher energy level. You will open yourself up to healthier living and longer life.