Snacking throughout the day can be beneficial or detrimental to your weight loss attempts and your overall health. Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day helps keep your metabolism working, and produces energy for your body to continue running efficiently. However, if your snacking lacks portion control and consists of mainly unhealthy foods, it is time to re-evaluate your habits.
Starting the Day
It is important to consider what you start your day eating, what you pack for lunch, and even what you eat at night while unwinding from the day. Becoming aware of what you are consuming is key to a successful weight loss journey and overall wellness.
If you have a bowl of cereal before heading out the door in the morning, reconsider a bowl of something more nutritional and filling to start your day. Cereal is a processed food that is manipulated through many stages and packed with ingredients to prolong its shelf life. Try old fashion oatmeal with flax seeds, honey, or cinnamon instead. Homemade smoothies are also a great kick start to the day; full of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
- By now, everyone is well aware of the harmful effects of soft drinks. A topic that has been pounded into the ground, many, many times. And yet, soft drink companies still bring in millions of dollars in revenue. A lot of soda drinkers claim they do not enjoy drinking water because it doesn’t taste like anything. How disconnected have we become that we are taking water, an essential factor in our survival, for granted? If you really need that flavor boost, you can find hundreds of varieties of tea at your local grocery store. You can also make your own flavored water by adding [lemon}(http://www.fitbodyhq.com/lifestyle/22-surprising-reasons-love-lemons/), cucumber, berries, or any other fruit you enjoy.
Granola bars and dried fruits are popular snack items for people on the run, but they offer little to no nutrition. When selecting a granola bar, steer clear of the breakfast or snack aisles at the grocery store. These products, despite their clever labeling, tend to be full of foreign substances and mysterious ingredients. Instead, find the aisles with fitness enhancement products, usually found near the medicine or gluten free sections. This is where you will find various sports bars, some of which contain only four or five ingredients – all pronounceable and recognizable fruits and nuts. Be cautious and make sure to read the ingredient list before choosing a product, because although the products are similar, manufactures can vary greatly in their processing methods.
Dried fruits can also be misleading because of the assumption in the title. Many producers of dried fruits add large amounts of sugar to hook customers to the candy-like sweetness. Consider drying your own fruit in the oven, or buying raw dried fruits which can be found in bulk sections, farmers markets, and all natural grocery stores.
Even the seemingly healthiest snacks might need some adjustments. Many grocers and gas stations have started carrying individual sized hummus and crackers, or hummus and pretzels. These are great go-to snacks when you are strapped for time or have limited options. However, crackers and pretzels are made with white flavor which turns into sugar when it is digested. Healthier options for pairing with dips like hummus, include carrots and cut bell peppers. If fresh vegetables are not available, choose the cracker with the highest amount of fiber. Not only is fiber great for your daily diet, but it will help you feel full and hinder excess snacking.
If your fridge, desk, purse, or car has the aforementioned unhealthy snacks stashed inside, no need to worry. Begin today by creating a new approach to the foods you buy and consume. Consider what they are made of and if they will have a positive or negative affect on your body. Purchase snacks with legitimate nutritional value and begin implementing portion control methods.
If you have plateaued in weight loss, or feel groggy and sleepy throughout the day, changing your snacking habits might be the answer. Make a conscience decision to monitor your snacking for one week, and chances are you will look back on your old eating habits and cringe, and then look in the mirror and smile.
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