Feeling the midday slump in between meals? Keep those hearty snacks on hand to get the most out of your day.
BY: VICTORIA YATES, RN
Do you love to snack? If you’re like most people, you probably love to munch on something in between your meals to keep you energized and get through the day.
Often times, those who eliminate snacking find that limiting calories and cutting out mid-meal snacking will end eating far more than they intend to at their next meal. There’s a tendency to feel uncontrollable around food, where you eat it so quickly out of hunger that you may not be able to fully enjoy it. Evenings can turn into a pantry raid that puts you in bed feeling overly full.
In other words, your workday snacking is far more necessary than you think! Here’s why.
1. It Starts With Noticing Hunger
The necessity of snacking goes back to how your bodies work. In order to work most efficiently with sustained energy and brain power, our bodies need to fuel regularly. As fuel stores deplete, you’ll notice signs of hunger begin to rise. Everyone’s signs of hunger differ, but here’s a few things you may notice as you get hungry: decreased energy, weakness, “brain-fogginess”, headache, dizziness, and the typical sign…stomach pangs. By noticing these signs of hunger, you can better act on those signs and meet your hunger needs.
For most, our bodies do best when eating something every 3-4 hours. Getting those messages of hunger is the biological signal that you should probably eat something. What happens if we don’t listen to those hunger cues between meals? Our hunger reaches a famished level, and we rush home to fill up on snacks while making dinner, or don’t even get home before driving through the drive-through.
2. The Satisfaction Factor
Satisfaction is something we don’t often think about when it comes to meeting our hunger needs. But eating snacks that are satisfying, as well as filling, is very important for sustained energy. Think about that time you were at the office and reached for a rice cake out of hunger.
That rice cake probably didn’t satisfy your hunger and you ended up reaching for something else to satisfy. Instead of grabbing something just because you think it’s low in calories, it’s important to think about what will give you satisfaction. Typically, the most satisfying components to include in a snack when you’re hungry are some form of complex carbs, fat, and protein, but it’s also important to consider what you’re craving.
3. Be Prepared
Maintaining energy at work and keeping hunger at bay is all about being prepared. Always leave the house with a snack prepared, or keep snacks at work. Even if you aren’t hungry for a snack, you are ready for it if that hunger does show up. Snack on nutrient-dense foods that will help you stay energized and focused, rather than rushing home and devouring everything in sight.
Responding to hunger is an important part of eating intuitively, which includes being open to snacking as a practical way to meet your hunger to keep you feeling calm and at peace around food.
So snack away, your body needs it!
Victoria Yates, RN is a Registered Nurse & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor based in Westchester, NY who focuses on helping women reach a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. She is passionate about guiding others reprogram negative thoughts around food and body image so they may experience a truly joyful life. Learn more about Victoria Yates Nutrition.