7 ways you’re snacking wrong

Choosing the wrong snack might result in more hunger pangs and even less energy


May 30, 2015
PHOTO: EPA

Most of us fail to differentiate between ‘bored’ and ‘hungry’. Where snacking serves the purpose of boosting your metabolism, others temporarily munch to kill the hunger between meals.

But choosing the wrong snack might result in more hunger pangs and even less energy. Here are the seven smarter replacements for your sneaky snacks as compiled from Cosmopolitan.

CANDY

REPLACEMENT: UNSALTED NUTS

Candies are made up of simple sugars that our bodies tend to burn immediately after we consume them, leaving you hungrier. It also contains loads of calories. “Eating a combination of high-quality protein, fat, and fiber is absolutely the best way to kill cravings, give you great satisfaction, and an energy boost,” says Pamela  M Peeke, MD, a physician and the author of Body for Life for Women. Unsalted nuts will do the needful. You can also add some fresh berries to satisfy your sweet tooth.

FRUIT-FLAVORED YOGURT

REPLACEMENT: LOW-FAT GREEK YOGURT WITH HONEY

As yogurt seems to be a healthy snack option, many brands available in the market are highly processed and contain plenty of sugar with little protein. According to Peeke, any container in which the majority of carbs come from sugar — just check gram counts listed on the nutrition facts — or has syrupy fruit at the bottom likely falls into this category. She suggested to go for plain Greek yogurt drizzled with raw honey, instead.

FRUIT JUICE

REPLACEMENT: EAT FRUIT

As Peeke says, “Juice is just a vehicle for a boatload of sugar.” Eating an apple is a better option than drinking its juice because unlike the juice, whole fruit contains fiber. It burns the fructose (the kind of sugar that naturally occurs in fruit). This fends off hunger longer. Some research suggests that drinking calories and can mess up your body’s ability to regulate the calories you eat. Eating whole fruit with some low-fat cheese is a good option for balanced protein and fat intake.

WATER-BASED SMOOTHIE

REPLACEMENT: YOGURT-BASED SMOOTHIE

Consistency is the key factor that affects your after-snack appetite. A 2013 study suggests that researchers served a variety of pre-lunch shakes to a number of men. The ones who drank watery, juice-like shakes felt hungrier and ate more lunch than ones who drank thick and creamy smoothies. Instead of a runny smoothie made with protein powder and water, blend up fresh or frozen fruit with Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of nut butter — the mix of high-quality protein, fat, and fiber make it satisfying.

DIET SODA

REPLACEMENT: SPARKLING WATER

As we know carbonated beverages fill us up, they can cause bloating. Diet sodas are even more harmful because of the artificial sweeteners.  Sipping these calorie-free drinks without food increases your appetite and threshold for sweetness, so you have to eat more sweet stuff to feel satisfied. Instead, refuel with for sparkling water and real food — the calories will really hold you over.

CUPCAKES

REPLACEMENT: WHOLE-GRAIN MUFFIN

As much as you like those icings on your cupcakes, they are full of sugar. The light, fluffy cake below that icing is made up of refined carbs (white flour) that can lead to a rapid blood sugar spikes and subsequent crash resulting in an afternoon slump. Fiber-full whole-grain English muffin or whole-wheat toast works better. The additional nut butter topping will hit at the right spot.

POTATO CHIPS

REPLACEMENT: POP CORN

Avoid the butter/chemical laden stuff you get at the movies. Try to place them in a brown paper bag, pop them in the microwave, and then add the seasonings of your choice. To get the same crunch, try air-popped popcorn (it’s high in fiber) with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for flavor.  Salty snacks make you thirsty, an impulse that’s all too easy to misinterpret as hunger.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2015.

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