Healthy snacking doesn’t have to be boring if you know what, when and how to eat.
Importance of Healthy Snacking
People are increasingly becoming aware of the necessity for eating healthy. No longer does our day consist of three main meals. Nowadays we are consciously focusing on consuming five to six meals per day. The fact that we should all be eating every 2 to 3 hours for weight and health purposes has made snacking, and that too healthy snacking, all the more important.
Healthy snacking is important for everyone. It has to be strongly watched out for:
- People with long or unusual working hours
- People with jobs that require lot of traveling
- Overweight and obese people
The type of healthy snacks you choose must take into account factors like lack of time for cooking food, long working hours or long distance traveling to work, unhealthy eating habits of children, and easy availability of ready to eat snacks.
Healthy snacking should be an integral component of a well balanced diet. It has many advantages:
- It keeps the body energetic throughout the day.
- It helps with weight loss.
- It also helps maintain the weight loss as one would ultimately eat less at big meals.
- Eating less at main meals and having healthy fiber rich foods in between keeps the metabolic rate high and helps one process food faster.
Snacks at home or when eaten at work or for lunch boxes should be as healthy as possible. For children, the regular food could be prepared in a healthful way and presented in a manner which makes the snack colorful and exciting. Parents have a great role to play in forming the food habits in their children. A Swedish study published in the journal Annals of Medicine reviewed the factors influencing food habits of children and suggested that the parents have to take the responsibility of making healthy foods easily available to the child and serve these foods at positive mealtime situations in order to help their child to develop healthy food habits.
At home, nutritious hot snacks which are quick to prepare can be worked out. For people who are always on the go and for the major hours out of home, dry healthy foods have to be judiciously chosen and then incorporated in the day to day living. All said and done snacking options which are most convenient and nutrient dense have to be thought of and planned before hand.
Healthy snacking is not as simple a task as it sounds. It involves thorough understanding and dedication to stick to a structured plan. It’s an art to eat frequently yet maintain or lose weight. It decides our long term health and fitness. Eating small frequent five to six small meals, every 2 to 3 hours, is the correct way of eating. Consuming small number of calories throughout the day complements the body’s physiology and nourishes it. Not eating for too long (more than 3 hours) is just an act of punishment. Rather than cutting calories, it backfires and makes one conserve fat.
- Indian Foods: AAPI’s Guide to Health Nutrition and Diabetes.
- Diwekar, R. Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight. Random House India, 2009.
- Laquatra, I. Nutrition for weight management In Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy; Mahan, LK., Stump, S.E, editors, 11th edition, Pheladelphia, 2000.
- Hursti, K. Factors influencing children’s food choice. Ann Med. 1999; Supp1; pp – 26 to 325. Koivisto Hursti. Factors influencing children''s food choice. Ann Med. 1999 Apr;31 Suppl 1:26-32.