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Snacking - Do’s and Don’ts

If you have to beat those cravings in between meals, snacks are inevitable. More often than not, we tend to reach out for the most unhealthy options to bust hunger pangs. This leads to slow and consistent weight gain as well as related imbalances in the body that can have long term effects. The answer does not lie in not eating in between meals. Rather, look out for healthier options consistently for a healthy lifestyle. 

Here are some tips to steer you towards better snacking habits.

Space out meals and snacks

Instead of grazing through the day at work, or grabbing an unhealthy pack of snacks while watching TV, follow a routine on snacks as well. In most cases, we have a meal time but not a snack time. If you allocate a dedicated time for snacks, the cravings are bound to reduce and you can choose healthier options. 

Veggies and fruits over chips

Nibble on vegetables, fruit and nuts instead of chips and cookies. While this doesn’t sound all that appealing, get in the habit of choosing these over a bag of chips in between meals. Your cravings will be put to rest and the healthy snack can help you tide over. In the case of fluids, drink water or green tea instead of high calorie soft drinks.

Have breakfast like a king

You might have heard this adage a number of times. There is massive truth to the fact that a good wholesome breakfast can tide you over for a large part of the day. Make sure you include juice, fruits and healthy wholegrain based cereal, nuts and healthy fats in your breakfast. A good filling meal in the morning means that you can naturally stay snack-free till lunch.

Read the labels

It is the regular intake of ultra-processed hyperpalatable snacks that are bad for you. These contain added salt, sugar, and fats but are low in nutrients and high in calories. This can increase a preference for these types of foods, leading to a change in eating behaviour and diet quality. Read the label when you are buying snacks. Choose from healthy and delicious packaged options like snack bars that are available. These contain activated nuts, clean ingredients and are rich in the right kind of nutrients.  

You can also resort to some smart snacking strategies like below:

  • Have a stock of well-planned healthy snacks at home or your office 
  • Try and make sweets, chips, and other treats rather than buying
  • Have a schedule for meals and snacks
  • Practice mindful eating at all times and don’t get reckless when hunger pangs hit
  • Read the nutrition facts label when buying packaged snacks
  • Bring healthy snacks with you at all times. You can easily carry a delicious snack bar

In principle, snacking is not unhealthy for you. In fact, snacks work well if you want to supplement your meals, have smaller portions and use them as mood uplifters. It’s the quality of snacks that makes all the difference.

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