Almost everyone is guilty of giving into bad habits with the grab-and-go… you know, the snack attack.
We are busy, and we need a drink or something to eat. So we grab something fast. We stop for gas while we are on the road, run into the convenience store to get a drink, and end up with not only a drink, but also a package of something to munch on.
Have you ever run into a convenience store and tried to buy unprocessed food? You might have noticed that you can’t find anything that isn’t packaged. On occasion, you might get lucky and find a banana, an apple, or an orange at the counter, but for the most part, 99 percent of what is available to us is packaged and processed.
Have you noticed that much of the food available at drive-through restaurants is fried, and most drinks contain some form of sugar or sugar substitute? Even the grocery store keeps its processed foods in the center of the store and at the checkout counters. To get to the real unprocessed food, you must shop the perimeter of the store.
Unfortunately, many of the drinks and foods available during snack attack times are not necessarily nutritious. In fact, many of these foods are bad for our bodies and are addictive. They fill our bodies with excess calories, sugars, and chemicals, and over time, our bodies begin to crave them.
Remember, your body runs like a machine. You must add the proper fuel to keep it going. If you don’t start with fuel, the machine won’t start. If you put in bad fuel, the machine doesn’t run well. If you put in good fuel, it operates efficiently. To produce quality results, we need efficiency.
So, how do we properly fuel our bodies?
Quantity, quality, and calories
There has long been a debate over eating just three meals a day, versus six smaller meals a day. It really boils down to quantity, quality, and calories. Are they good calories or junk calories?
In a report on WebMD, Cleveland dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD, stated: “After about three hours without food, blood sugar begins to fall. And after four hours, your body has already digested whatever you sent down earlier. Once you’ve crossed the five-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel. That’s why breakfast is so important. After seven-eight hours of sleep without food, you need energy to get moving.”
Starting the day with breakfast will get you going. And if you continue to fuel every three to four hours, you’ll provide your body and brain with a steady stream of nutrients so that it will run properly all day, and you’re less likely to feel a snack attack coming on.
Then be sure to pay attention to what and how much you are consuming. Be aware and pay attention. You really are in charge of what you put in your mouth at meals and during a sneaky snack attack. The saying goes, “You are what you eat.” No excuses. You choose and you consume.
Healthy choices for your snack attack
Now, for the healthy grab and go. The first consideration is to bring your own water and snacks. You have complete control of the snack attack.
If that doesn’t work for you, the simplest strategy is mixing portion control with protein and fiber to fill you up. Grab a bottle of water and read the labels of the snacks, looking for high protein and high fiber. Better yet, buy fruits and vegetables if they are available.
A report on March 28, 2015, by the Mayo Clinic Staff states: “The best snacks are those that fill you up quickly, make you feel full until mealtime, and add relatively few calories to your daily total. Fruits and vegetables meet these ideal snack requirements for several reasons:
“Few calories. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories. Even when you eat a portion that satisfies your hunger, the calorie count is low.
“Lots of water. Most fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water, which helps fill you up.
“Lots of fiber. Fiber is the part of plants that you can’t absorb and that passes through your digestive system slowly. Fiber fills you up and helps you feel full longer.
“Lots of nutrients. Fruits and vegetables provide healthy vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant chemicals (phytochemicals).
“Little fat. Most high-fat foods are high in calories but usually low in water content and fiber. In order to feel full with high-fat foods, you need to consume lots of calories. Most fruits and vegetables have very little fat.”
So here is a tip before you buy and eat packaged foods: Read the label! If you are going to eat packaged foods, learn to read the label. Here are some pointers:
Stick to the serving size to get the correct values. Don’t overeat.
Look for hidden sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup, and remember 4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Limit your total fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugars.
Always get enough fiber, protein and vitamins.
A quick rule of thumb for the percentage of daily value: Five percent or less is low, and 20 percent or more is high.
Look for chemical additives. If you can’t say it, you probably don’t want to eat it.
And… happy snacking! Remember, you are what you eat!
Tryna Giordano Cooper is a business leader, lifelong entrepreneur, solution- based community activist, new-thought leader and passionate sacred activist. She is a co-owner of several small businesses in Colorado including Meetings & Events, Experience Events and Journeys for Conscious Living. She was also the co-owner of The Professional Cleaning Network in Denver. She can be reached at TCooper@MeetingsAndEvents.com.