Understanding why you are snacking is as important as knowing what to snack on. So, let’s take a closer look at the science behind snacking.
Research says – We snack to satisfy cravings, relieve hunger, increase nutrient intake, boredom, to deal with emotions and sometimes to replace meals. The go-to-snacks are usually something like chocolate, chips and/or cheese.
Mindful Snacking – Is about paying attention to what you eat, why you eat it, and how you eat it. Understanding the purpose and intention of the snack.
These snacks are ideal for early morning risers that have breakfast before 7:00 a.m. Most people are not very hungry in the early morning hours, affecting the overall nutritional intake of the breakfast meal. A mid-morning snack will serve two purposes: 1. Help meet nutritional needs of the morning meal. 2. Control appetite before lunch. Ideally, this snack should be consumed 1-2 hours before lunch. This snack should be light and small. Eating a high-protein snack will help control appetite and will increase metabolic rate since protein digestion increases energy expenditure by 20-30%. Snack choices could be a handful of peanuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts or cashews, a slice of cheese, or 1 cup of low-fat yogurt.
These snacks are intended to avoid the 3:00 p.m. energy slump. Snacking 2-3 hours after lunch will help keep blood sugar stable. Snacks high in fiber, protein and healthy fats will slow digestion and provide a steady supply of energy until your next meal, which should be dinner. These snacks are ideal for after-school hours and during long commutes after work. These snacks are also great before events or social gatherings to help control food cravings. The best choices could be: 3 cups of unsalted popcorn + 1 oz. roasted peanuts, or fruit smoothie with soy milk or low-fat milk and 1 cup of mixed berries, or 6 almonds + 1 cheese stick + 1 apple.
These snacks should be small and easy to digest, low in fat, protein and fiber, but high in low-glycemic carbohydrates to reduce glucose and insulin responses, and to provide dependable fuel for hours. Working out on an empty stomach is also counterproductive as nerve tissues are entirely dependent on glucose as a source of energy. Buckwheat is an excellent energy source, shown to improve circulation, and in its whole grain form has a low glycemic response. It is gluten free and contains all the essential amino acids. It’s also more satisfying than other grains. For a long-morning run, try these buckwheat buttermilk pancakes (see recipe below). In a hurry? Consider a small whole-wheat bagel with low fat cream cheese, or a small bowl of overnight oats with old-fashioned rolled oats in almond milk and a handful of blueberries (do not use quick-cooking oats or instant oatmeal). Remember to drink water to prevent dehydration and to improve performance.
Timing is as important as the snack choice. This snack should be consumed in the early recovery phase (0-2 hours) after completing the workout. A combination of carbohydrates and protein (10 g of essential amino acids) will help replenish glycogen stores largely depleted during muscle contraction, and for muscle rebuilding and recovery. Examples of post-workout snacks include egg-avocado toast on whole wheat, strawberry-banana smoothie with low fat milk, or a yogurt parfait with low fat yogurt, mixed berries, topped with a handful of homemade granola clusters. Yum! Remember to rehydrate with still or sparkling mineral water.
Eating a snack high in protein will help increase sleeping metabolic rate and will supply amino acids for muscle repair during sleep. Low fat dairy products are a good source as they provide a slow release of amino acids and carbohydrates into the blood stream. A cup of low-fat low-sugar yogurt will do, or even a plain glass of warm milk will help you have a restful and good night sleep.
BUCKWHEAT BUTTERMILK PANCAKES RECIPE
Courtesy Whole Grains Council (Karen Mansur) Original recipe was modified to meet USDA Smart Snack Guidelines (saturated fat <10%, and contains 10% of DV for calcium and fiber).
|Makes 12 servings
||SERVING SIZE: 2 PANCAKES 6” ROUND
|1 ½ cup buckwheat ﬂour
|1 ½ cup whole white wheat ﬂour
||Total fat: 4 g (saturated fat: 2 g)
|3 tablespoons sugar
|| Sodium: 260 mg
|1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
||Carbohydrate: 28 grams
|½ teaspoon vegetable oil
|| Fiber: 3 grams (12%)
|2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
|| Protein: 7 grams
|1 egg, beaten
||Sugars: 7 grams
|3 ½ cups non-fat buttermilk, divided
|1 tsp. baking soda (for low sodium reduce to ¼ tsp.)
|½ teaspoon vegetable oil
- Heat a large griddle pan over medium heat. Prepare batter while pan is heating.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (ﬂours, sugar, salt, baking soda) in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, stir egg and 1 cup of the buttermilk until combined, then slowly add in melted butter until incorporated.
- Add the buttermilk / egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend. Add in the remaining buttermilk to batter. Stir only until everything is combined. Batter may be slightly lumpy. Do not over mix.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil. Ladle ¼ cup batter onto the hot pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the pancake to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles come the surface. Flip the pancake and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown.
There are many benefits to eating well, from disease prevention to overall health and wellness. That’s why Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation have partnered with Kohl’s Cares on a program called #GiveMe5 to encourage children and families throughout the community to stay active and eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Our partnership brings healthy eating tips and recipes to kids in local schools and to families at various community events throughout the year. For more information, please visit our #GiveMe5 page.