Snack food in America is a booming business. There are all manner of colorful cellophane packages full of cream-filled cakes, brownies, and pies calling to us from the shelves of the local supermarket. The store bakery sends tantalizing odors all over the store while you’re shopping. The television fills your head with images of freezing ice cream on a hot summer day while children frolic in the yard without a care in the world. Everyone knows that these things are not the best things to put in their bodies, so why do they eat them?
- They ate loads of carbs at their last meal (around 3 hours ago) and their blood sugar has tanked, so their body is telling them they’re hungry, but it isn’t time for the next meal yet.
- They’re short on time, so they need something they can get, unwrap, and eat quickly.
- They’re bored/sad/angry/stressed and don’t have any other coping mechanism. Food is always there and it never talks back.
- Someone offered it to them and they would feel bad for saying no. Please don’t sacrifice your health for the feelings of others. If you’re the type of person that gets offended when someone won’t eat the processed food you brought them, get over it.
We’re all human, and humans snack. So instead of preventing snacking, let’s talk about how to snack well. Here are some of my go-to snack foods:
- jerky- for when you just really need to chew something
- pork rinds- for when you need something crunchy
- nuts- very portable and full of good fats to keep you going
- eggs- less portable, but good if you’re around a fridge (cube-dwellers) and can be spiced up
- protein bars- be careful when shopping for these as many are just candy bars with a little protein in them
If I know I’m going to be away from home or the office for a while, I’ll throw some things into my purse or backpack to take with me. Nuts are especially easy because they don’t take up much room and can be eaten quickly. I also save money by doing this because I don’t end up buying food items from convenience stores, where prices are generally marked up considerably. Figure out what you snack on currently and see if there are some better choices you could make, things you could keep around that would give you protein and fat to keep you going without causing your blood sugar to go all wonky (this happens even if you aren’t diabetic).