Snacking 101

May 16, 2018

Contributing Writer: Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD of Milk & Honey Nutrition, @milknhoneynutrition.

 

Have you ever had just a truly mind-blowing snack? Like, it was so good and tasty, and filling, and energizing, that you just thought… “Man, that was one crazy good snack!” No? Just me? (I do have a tendency to go a bit over the top with food… check out my Instagram feed for more details on that…)

 

Well, maybe you’d change your mind, if you knew what exactly a snack was supposed to do for you. Have you ever thought about that? Why do we eat snacks? Is it because we’re hungry? Need fuel? Are about to workout? Are bored? Really, why do we eat them? Whether it’s mid-morning, late afternoon, or bedtime… everyone enjoys a good snack. ESPECIALLY if it’s tasty and gets the job done.

 

But what exactly do I mean by “gets the job done”? There are many reasons we eat snacks (many I listed above), but the primary reason is we need something to get us from one meal to the next without us starving and feeling tired.

 

So, basically snacks keep us full (or at least keep our stomachs from growling) and energized. But how do they do that?

 

To really understand that, we need to do a brief review of our MACRO nutrients: carbs, protein, and fat.

 

These three things are the only things that provide calories to our bodies. (The exception to that is alcohol, which also provides calories, but isn’t considered a nutrient.) They each serve different functions in our bodies and are absorbed at different speeds. Carbohydrates are processed the quickest. This means they leave our stomachs and get absorbed in our intestines faster than protein and fat do.

 

Carbohydrates give us quick energy.

 

Protein and fat take a little longer to digest, with fat taking the longest. Protein and fat, help keep us energized over longer periods of time. This is why an apple by itself (mainly carbs) only keeps you full for an hour, but an apple with peanut butter (protein and fat) keeps you full for 2-3 hours.

 

So, whenever I’m working with clients, I always give them my “perfect snack” formula…

 

Carbs + protein/fat = sustained energy and fullness.

 

There are so many great carb and protein/fat combos to pick from:

  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Carrots and hummus (I especially love Rhythm Superfoods new Carrot Sticks with Lantana Foods hummus!)
  • Avocado toast
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Beans
  • Beet Chips and cheese

 

 

So, next time you’re wanting something to munch on between meals, make sure you’re giving yourself everything you need to keep you both energized AND satisfied!

 

What do you think?

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