by Marci Lall
Posted on Tuesday 14th of October 2008
Back in the day people ate three meals a day. They rarely snacked. Now a day’s, we spend most of our time trying to find a quick energy fix, and snacks usually make up 20 to 50 percent of your total calories. If you are a big fan of snacking then I encourage you to think of your snacks as meals so that you end up choosing wholesome food instead of junk like cookies, chips, coke, and other low nutritional energy boosters.
In fact, I would eliminate the word “snack” from your vocabulary. I recommend you start to think two lunches instead of one lunch and an afternoon snack. That way, you’ll end up choosing wholesome foods (like vegetable soup) and not typical snacks (like sweets) in the afternoon.
The Wise Snacker
Many women believe that snacking is bad, because they snack on glazed doughnuts, cakes, candy bars, cookies, colas, and other sugary choices that fail to give them the nutrients they need for optimal weight loss and performance.
If this sounds like you, remember this: Just as a car needs gas and other plugs to function, your body needs calories (gas) along with vitamins, minerals, and proteins (plugs) found in wholesome foods to function effectively. If you want to have high quality workouts, high energy, and good health, you need to fuel your body with quality calories. You can do this by taking out that sweet snack and substituting it with a second lunch.
Some women try not to snack because they believe that eating between meals is fattening and add it also makes them feel a little guilty. The truth is that snacking is very important. Active and people trying to lose weight you will tend to get hungry at least every four hours, so even if you have breakfast at 8:00 and lunch at noon, your body will still want a snack by 4:00 P.M., if not earlier. If you will be exercising in the afternoon, you need added fuel to energize your workout. Snacking is good for you and your workouts, and you should plan it as part of your active lifestyle.
Fast Snacks For Busy Women
When you are eating on the run and grabbing snacks instead of real meals, be sure to choose wholesome foods for your mini-meals. You can make excellent choices from many nutritious and conveniently available items.
Here are some popular suggestions:
• Whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and a yogurt
• Thin-crust pizza with green peppers
• Peanut butter, crackers, and V-8 juice
• Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
• Granola with low-fat milk and banana
• Chinese takeout stir-fry chicken with vegetables and steamed rice
• Instant oatmeal made with low-fat milk.
Observe that each of these mini-meals includes foods from at least two food groups. The next list provides you with extra ideas for snacks and grazing at home and on the road. Preferably, you'll choose foods from different groups to help balance your eating. That way, even when you graze throughout the day you can get a variety of nutrients needed for good health and top performance.
• Dry cereal. Mix your favorite cereal with raisins, dried fruits, cinnamon, or nothing!
• Instant oatmeal. Microwave the oatmeal in milk instead of water to
boost its nutritional power. Sprinkle with raisins and chopped nuts.
• Popcorn. Eat plain or sprinkled with spices such as chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, or soy sauce. If you like, spray with low-calorie butter-flavor sprays so that the spices stick.
• Pretzels. If you wish to reduce your salt intake, knock off the salt or buy salt-free pretzels.
• Crackers. Stoned wheat, sesame, bran, and other reduced-fat or fat-free brands are good choices.
• Muffins. Homemade with canola oil are best. If store bought, choose low-fat muffins; wholesome bran or corn muffins are better than those made with white flour.
• Bagels. Whole-grain varieties provide more vitamins and minerals than do bagels made with white flour.
• Fruits. Choose oranges, bananas, apples, or any fresh fruit. When traveling, pack along dried fruit for concentrated carbohydrates. See the table at the end of this list for some of the best fruits.
• Smoothies. Whip together milk or juice, fresh or frozen fruit, and wheat germ or flax meal.
• Frozen fruit bars. You can slowly savor these pleasant treats in good health.
• Yogurt. Buy plain low-fat yogurt and flavor it with vanilla, honey, cinnamon, instant decaffeinated coffee, applesauce, fruit cocktail, or berries.
• Nuts, seeds. Peanuts, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and other nuts and seeds are excellent for protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthful fat.
• Sandwiches. Sandwiches don't have to be just for lunch; they are great for snacks. Use peanut butter, turkey, hummus, lean roast beef, or tuna with lite mayo.
• Baked potatoes. Microwave ovens make these a handy snack. They're tasty warm or cold, and because of their high glycemic effect, they are excellent for refueling your muscles after a hard workout. Try sweet potatoes with a dash of nutmeg.
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