Mindful or Mindless Munching between Meals
By Jemma Besson, RD CDE
Jemma Besson is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who works for Shoppers Drug Mart®.
You might be surprised to know that snacking can be part of a healthy and fulfilling diet. Snacking often gets a bad rap but that is likely more so related to the food choices people make when they are snacking. Foods marketed as “snack packs” or “snack size” or even “portioned into 100 calorie bags” tend to be energy dense but nutrient poor – meaning they don’t really provide us with much more than empty some calories. They also do not keep up full and satisfied so we end up going back to the cupboard for round two or even round three! If this sounds familiar, you will want to keep reading.
Healthy and balanced snacks offer a number of benefits because they can help to keep your blood sugar within optimal ranges. This means better energy throughout the day (no more afternoon energy crashes!), improved concentration, and decreased cravings midafternoon and after dinner. Of course, we also have to consider what you are consuming at your actual meals too.
So, what makes a good snack?
- Timing - if your main meals are more than 4-6 hours apart, this is an appropriate time to pop in a snack.
- Preplanned - always plan and portion your snacks in advance. In other words, take out a quarter cup of nuts and put the bag away right after rather than eating out of it!
- Balancing act – you want your snack to always have a source of protein paired with a fibre. The fibre source (e.g. a fruit) provides energy and the protein (e.g. nuts) will help slow down digestion leaving you feeling fuller for longer. The combination will result in a much more satisfying snack!
- Mindful – not mindless. Try not to multitask while eating your snack – no scrolling on social media, pause the TV show, and close those emails! If you mindlessly eat your snack while having your attention focused on something else you are much more likely to overeat and feel less satisfied – cue increased cravings!
Here are my top 8 favourite snacks:
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt paired with ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 1 slice of whole grain toast topped with sharp cheddar cheese (very lightly drizzled with honey)
- 2 boiled eggs and an apple
- 1 cup of roasted chickpeas
- Celery sticks filled with almond butter (about 2 tbsp)
- Cherry tomatoes dipped in hummus
- ¼ cup of nuts and a banana (a classic!)
- Mini smoothie made with spinach, ½ cup fruit and some Greek yogurt
Do you feel unsatisfied evening after your snacks? Particularly in the evening? The problem might be that you are not consuming enough during the day causing you to have increased cravings midafternoon and in the evening. Working with a Registered Dietitian can work with you to create a personalized plan to help decrease those cravings! Registered Dietitian services are available through Shoppers Drug Mart at shoppersdrugmart.ca/dietitians.
The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters. Please note: Dietitian services are currently only available in Ontario. Please contact your store to learn more. ®/TM 911979 Alberta Ltd. ©2020 Shoppers Drug Mart Inc.