The many benefits of healthy snacks

November 12, 2012

The many benefits of healthy snacks

Many of us who worry about our weight may be unaware of the power of healthy snacks. Choosing healthy snacks provides multiple benefits to our overall health and well being, helps to curb cravings, regulates mood and boosts our mental agility, helps in our weight loss efforts and provides the energy to keep us going throughout the whole day – avoiding the classic mid-afternoon slump experienced by so many.

Learn to resist the urges

The basis for any healthy lifestyle and healthy life is knowing and understanding the benefits of good nutrition, a healthy, well balanced diet is the key to reducing the risk of cardio vascular disease and improving our overall health and fitness. Choosing healthy snacks is an essential component of healthy living. Whatever our age it is important to learn to resist the urge to snack on burgers, confectionary, fries, chips and fizzy, sugar laden drinks.

Maintaining a healthy weight

In order to maintain a healthy weight and avoid binging on junk food and processed snacks it is essential to avoid periods of extreme hunger – feeling hungry will only increase the likelihood of making unhealthy food choices. This means taking the time to plan meals and healthy snacks as well as ensuring that even when we are away from home we can make those all important healthy choices. By choosing to eat small meals every three to five hours we can learn to resist the urge to overeat. For many of us, used to large meals, learning to eat small portions may be difficult – but re-educating ourselves about our body’s nutritional requirements is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. Combining food intake with increased activity during the day is a guaranteed way of being in control of our weight.

Be prepared

Most of us know the importance of not doing our food shopping whilst ravenously hungry – we are more apt to buy too much of the wrong kinds of foods if do. The same thing applies to healthy snacks – if we keep our refrigerator and cupboards filled with healthy snacks and foods we improve our chances of creating a healthy, well balanced diet for both our family and ourselves.

Blood sugar levels

One of the benefits of eating small meals more frequently is the maintenance of healthy, normal, blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels tend to dip around three to five hours after eating; avoiding this dip maintains both blood sugar levels and metabolic rate. Allowing our body to experience extreme hunger means a slowing of the metabolism and increases the likelihood of over-eating.

Choosing the right foods

Whatever our dietary weakness is, it is essential that we learn to combat it. Choosing foods that satisfy is key to preventing dramatic changes in blood sugar levels, reducing cravings as well as guarding against binge eating. Healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, low fat dairy products, whole grain foods and legumes will provide our body’s with many of its required nutrients as well as leaving us feeling satisfied. Choosing a snack, which includes protein, will provide a mental boost making us feel more alert and ready to concentrate.

Food is the fuel our body needs to fully function – choosing food that is nutrient poor, such as those containing high levels of sugar, does nothing more than provide an instant jolt of energy followed by the crash, or slump, which, inevitably leaves us wanting more of the unhealthy food. Choosing healthy snacks provides our body with slow-burning, high quality energy that will help keep us going through the whole day. Choosing smaller meals and snacks also prevents the mental and physical slump that often follows a large meal.

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