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Snacking is one of those things that most of us cannot go by our day without. And that applies most of all to kids who say that their favorite meal of the day is when they snack. In this article, we will cover the benefits of healthy snacking for kids as well as adults and also go through various options for healthy snacking.
Contrary to the popular belief, snacking can be a vital part of an adult and a child’s daily diet. This is due to the fact that if you start to snack in between main meals, you will automatically eat a smaller portion size for your main meal and therefore, this contributes to maintaining a healthy weight.
Eating in this way also ensures that your body gets a good energy boost throughout the day instead of experiencing energy highs and lows which happens with spaced out main meals. The body’s metabolic rate also speeds up with this technique of eating smaller portion-sized main meals and snacking in between which means that the body will process the food you eat a lot quicker and also burn it off a lot quicker resulting in easier weight maintenance.
Robust Immune System
Healthy snacks prepared at home have higher nutritional value than pre-packaged snacks sold in supermarkets and therefore are a better choice for snacking. On top of being a good source of energy, healthy snacks provide fiber which helps the body in its cleansing function. Having now given you an overview of healthy snacking, let us now talk about the benefits of healthy snacking to children.
Essentially, if your kids are having healthy snacks, the result is a more robust immune system which in turn means they are less likely to fall ill and therefore less trips to the doctor. It can be very difficult to try and get your kids to have healthy snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, yogurt, and low-fat cheese. Kids would rather have candy or potato chips and other sugary snacks.
However, not only are the latter snacks less beneficial to them in the sense that they don’t provide the nutrients in the required food groups for children but they also leave residues of sodium and fat in their bodies. These unhealthy snacks also give them energy spikes just after being eaten but sends them crashing after a while. The other drawback of these unhealthy snacks is the fact that because of their high salt content they tend to dehydrate the body very quickly and water is vital to the body.
Perform Better Overall
The key is to initially give your kids alternatives to the usual unhealthy snacks because it can be difficult to keep them away from those tasty readily available snacks from the supermarkets. For example, if your kids have a sweet tooth and like cookies and chocolate, you can try giving them oatmeal cookies and fruit juice popsicles and try replacing regular chips with baked chips instead.
Getting your kids to snack on healthy food will help them at school as they will be more energetic and less grumpy and will therefore be more able to perform better overall. Not only that, but you are helping them pave the way to a healthy body and avoid diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases caused by unhealthy eating habits.
Now, as adults, we find it very difficult to stick to our diets when we start to get a bit peckish between meals, to the extent that some dieters eliminate snacking between meals completely from their diets in an attempt to reduce the calorie intake for the day.
Increase Your Metabolism
However, this is not the best option in most cases, because it leads to the unavoidable irritation in the afternoon around 4pm when it feels like lunch has been a while back and it’s a while before dinner. In order to avoid these cravings and feelings of irritation, have a variety of healthy snacks spaced out throughout the day.
This will keep your energy levels up and increase your metabolism throughout the day and also ensure that you don’t have any cravings. Here are some tips which will help you choose healthy snacks and eat better.
Eat At Regular Intervals
These days, because most people live hectic lives, they tend to have very spaced out meals which does not benefit their diet plan. By leaving long periods between meals, your body’s metabolic rate slows down, and this also applies to calorie controlled diet where the body is not getting as much food as it needs.
A good guideline is to eat every three hours, for example, have a good-sized breakfast around 8, lunch around 12, snack around 3:30 in the afternoon, have your dinner around 7 and last thing before going to bed around 10, have a snack which is high in protein. This way, your body is forced to keep your metabolism up and burn the calories you are eating which will result in high energy levels throughout the day and keep any unhealthy eating habits at bay.
Pack A Healthy Snack
How many times have you found yourself peckish and just not found anything to eat at hand? This is what starts the habit of unhealthy snacking which results in weight gain. The solution is to always have a packed healthy snack whether you are going to work, going on vacation or just going out for the day.
It is also a good idea to always keep a healthy snack in your desk drawer at work and in your car for emergencies. This will help keep you away from the vending machines at work and the fast food places when on vacation or a day out. Not only will this new habit stop you from gaining weight, but it will also save you money.
Healthy Snack Options
A healthy snack needs to have nutrients in the relevant food groups in this case complex carbohydrates, protein and fat. The following are just a few examples of some healthy snacks:
- Vegetables (carrots and broccoli)
- Nuts on their own or with added dried fruits (really easy to just keep a packet with you or at work)
- Fresh fruits such as bananas, grapes and apples
- Low-fat Greek yogurt (nuts and dried fruits can be added for extra taste)
- Almond or peanut butter on wholemeal bread
- Low-fat cheese with whole wheat crackers
The above healthy snack options will stop you from any unwanted temptations during the day and will also keep you energetic throughout the day as they are high in fiber protein and healthy fats.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a good idea what a healthy snack is, and know some good options for a child as well as for an adult. Also, remember the importance of spreading the intake of calories throughout the day to maintain good energy levels as opposed to having big main meals, which will give you energy spikes but then cause you to crash later on.