To Snack or Not to Snack
There are few problems with snacks, or rather confusions about snacks, that don’t work in our favor.
Confusion 1: “It’s just a little snack”
Many of us don’t even realize how many calories we end up consuming snacking. Some snacks have more calories than a proper meal. Most, if not all, of those calories are empty. Meaning, they do not provide any valueble nutrients, such as phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Even so called “healthy” snacks very often are overly processed and loaded with sweeteners, hidden under the names we can’t recognize.
Confusion 2: “But it’s healthy”
Just because it says natural, healthy, pure or low fat on the package, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. You still need to read the nutritional information. You’ll be surprised to find all sorts of unexpected things added to that “healthy”, “natural” snack.
Confusion 3: “Must have snacks between meals”
Seriously, with 30% of the population that is obese here in Egypt and over 35% of the population obese in countries like Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (almost 40%) we still insist on having 3 meals and snacks in between!? This idea that 5 smaller meals are better than 3 large is very misleading and confusing. Firstly, even 3 large meals is too much for most people. Most of us don’t exercise on a regular basis burning a thousand calories, we have sedentary lifestyle, desk jobs and our daily calorie requirements are lower than recommended average. You can easily calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) or BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) using online calculators. My BMR for example is 1200 calories a day. That’s just a slice of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, lol. And it comes up to 2000 calories on a highly active day. So I eat only two meals and a small snack (usually fruits)
However, not all of us are struggling with excess weight, some of us are athletes, growing teenagers, some of us would like to gain some weight or just treat ourselves once in a while. So we do need snacks, but the kind of snacks you don’t feel guilty about afterwards. Snacks with benefits and not consequences.
So here are my favorite snacks I usually eat and recommend, in no particular order:
Fruits. Nothing beats fresh seasonal fruit.
Nuts and seeds (have to be mindful of high fat content though) Make a Trail Mix and keep it in a Jar
Dates, prunes, apricots or any other dry fruits (nature’s best candy) Try may favorite treat - Loaded Dates
Vegetable sticks with Hummus (recipe here)
Guacamole or Salsa with baked tortilla chips
Avocado on a cracker or seeded bread
Apple slices with Peanut or Almond Butter
Air Popped Popcorn
If you do choose store bought packaged snacks read the label well and choose something with fewer ingredients, low in sugar and sodium, minimally processed and as close to whole food as possible, meaning nothing good taken, nothing bad added.
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