In a culture where dieting has become almost a lifestyle, it seems out of character to say that snacking is a good thing. Most often, when someone decides to embark on yet another fad diet, the first step is to eliminate snacks. Consequently, all things snack-related become something to avoid – the dreaded snack aisle at the grocery store, donut shops, vending machines… But as counterintuitive as it may sound, snacking can actually help improve your overall eating experience and can actually be physiologically beneficial to your health.
Beating the inevitable mid-morning slump
Consider a common morning routine: you wake up, rush through a not so nutritious breakfast, are starving by mid morning, push through to lunch, then ravenously scarf down a big and all too heavy meal. Sound familiar? In the attempt to curb overeating, we actually do just the opposite.
By waiting until the point of extreme hunger to address our need for food, we set ourselves up to eat too quickly and too much. On the contrary, snacking actually reduces overeating. For example, when your stomach starts grumbling at 10 a.m., take a quick walk down to the staff room and grab a small bag of roasted almonds from the vending machine – your body will get a much needed boost of nutritious protein and your appetite will still be partially satiated by the time you have lunch. Subsequently, you are more likely to eat a lighter meal. By having that little snack, your overall caloric intake over the course of the day is reduced.
Rev up your metabolism
Not only so, by more evenly spreading out food intake throughout the day, your rate of metabolism actually increases because your body is not dealing with the stress of hunger. Your body can start to think it should try to reserve energy, causing your metabolism to slow down. It is also a lot easier to concentrate on what your boss is saying, or address a customer’s questions when you have adequate fuel boosting your brain’s needs! By snacking on high protein foods, such as nuts, seeds and whole grain bars that are readily accessible from a vending machine, you can improve your focus, motivation and comprehension.
Boost your nutrient intake
Furthermore, the nutrients in snack foods can help to fill in the food groups that are missed during meal times, increasing the variety of nutrients that you consume. While you may not get around to incorporating seeds, for instance, into the dinner menu, you can get a good dose of them in a small granola bar or some trail mix.
So the next time you get the munchies, do something good for your body that you can enjoy too – grab a snack!