Can we snack healthy? –

Snacking is eating outside meals. You then consume food in small fractional quantities, sometimes automatically and even without craving for a specific food. This usually leads to unhealthy food choices and overconsumption of these foods.

Why am I snacking?

Snacking can be caused by several factors:

– The content of your plate consists mainly ofultra-processed foods (less satiating, more hyperglycemic). These stimulate overconsumption.

– A diet too rich in sugars, low in fiber and protein. It will therefore not be satisfying enough.

– The quantity served during the meal is not sufficient, nor in accordance with your needs.

– The texture of the chosen food involves little chewing, on the one hand the hyperglycaemia is higher and in addition you risk not being satiated enough.

– You eat too quickly, so your hormonal system (which regulates satiety) does not have time to get going.

– You are going through a period of stress or anxiety that leads to overconsumption. You then tend to take refuge in food to comfort you.

Can we snack healthy?

Healthy snacking is possible! Indeed, “Making healthy snacks is a good way to avoid snacking. When you snack, you lose control of the amount and content of what you eat. That’s why, if you’re not full during meals or if you need to eat in a more fragmented way, it is best to establish snack times” explains our expert.

Avoid having ultra-processed products (often higher in fat, sugar and salt) on hand, whether at home, at work or at school. Did you know that their very attractive colored packaging, encourage snacking ? This is because they reinforce the visual stimulus of the presence of food.

What foods to snack on to stay healthy?

The foods to be favored are “real foods”, raw, little or simply processed. As well as those based on fiber and protein, with mostly solid textures that involve chewing on your part. Nevertheless, it is very important to know that the food balance is not based on a single meal or even on those of the day, but on what you consume throughout the week. So relax! There’s no need to stress over focusing on the “good” and “bad” foods, let alone counting the calories in a single meal.

By following the rule of 3V (eating real, mainly vegetable and varied) as explained in the book Eat Truethe more you relax by taking your time, chewing food well, and listening to your body, the more benefits you will get from those foods.

Favor foods that are a source of fiber (whole and integral cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes) and a source of protein (nuts, legumes, yogurt, cheese) which help to increase satiety, avoiding too much consumption.

Fresh, dried and nut fruits are good food choices to have on hand, especially for snacks.

If you want more information on healthy snacking, the book Eat True by Pamela Ebner and siga from Thierry Souccar editions is to be discovered.

Eat True, Pamela Ebner and siga, Thierry Souccar editions, €22.90

The benefits of healthy snacking

Splitting the feed allows:
> To make digestion lighter
> To avoid a glycemic load

You will feel less heavy or heavy after eating. But everything will depend on the needs of each person and the content of what you eat. Just learn to listen to your body and the signals it sends you, it’s important to know what you need.

When to snack?

Listen to your body and the signals it sends you. Always try to distinguish hunger from the simple urge to eat. If you feel hungry at night, eat slowly and stop when you feel full. Every person is different, some people are hungrier in the morning and others in the afternoon or evening. The important thing is to follow your internal rhythm, trust your body and give it what it needs. Always based on real foods, mainly vegetable and varied.

The risks of bad nibbling

In general, when you snack, you do it with unhealthy foods: cakes, sweets… It’s a real pleasure! But when it is recurrent, a vicious circle is generated. At mealtime, you are no longer hungry, which leads to a recurring food imbalance. Losing control over the quality and quantity of what you eat is a risk. Snacking stimulates the overconsumption of unhealthy and ultra-processed foods, which promote weight gain, obesity and diabetes among others. Thus, it can lead to certain nutritional deficiencies (vitamins and minerals) due to the lack of variety of food.

Snack on real foods: raw, slightly or simply processed (rated between 1 and 4 by the Siga application, for example). Avoid ultra-processed foods made from unknown ingredients, too high in fat, sugar and salt (crisps, sweets, certain chocolate bars, ice cream, puffed and/or extruded snacks such as rice cakes, curly. ..)
Choose foods that are high in fiber (complete and integral cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes) and a source of protein (nuts, legumes, yogurt, cheese) which help to increase your satiety, avoiding excessive consumption.
Avoid eating too many sugary foods in the morning and in the evening, in order to avoid the glycemic peaks which can lead to an increase in the feeling of hunger, snacking and overconsumption. Reserve sweet snacks for the afternoon instead.
Avoid eating in front of the TV. This causes us to be less connected to what we eat and how we feel, which can lead to overconsumption of ultra-processed foods.
– Before eating, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Try to connect to your internal sensations, to differentiate hunger from “desire for…”, and tolearn to listen to signals of satiety.

Pregnant and often want to snack, what to do?

Pregnancy is a physiological state during which there is a hormonal disruption which can cause hunger and a desire to eat more than usual. This is completely normal because the body puts in place all the necessary mechanisms to ensure the correct growth and development of the fetus. Also, as the pregnancy progresses, the stomach has less room due to the pressure of the uterus, so splitting meals may be highly recommended. During pregnancy, this is not the time to restrict yourself, but above all to pay attention to the quality of what you eat.

Prefer again, real foods, that is to say raw or minimally processed foods, those based on fibers and proteins with mainly solid textures, which involve chewing on your part. This will help increase satiety. Always eat slowly because the biological mechanisms that regulate appetite are complex. They depend on various stimuli and hormones, which take time to tell us that we are full.

My child often wants to snack, what should I feed him?

Children have a significant energy expenditure related to their growth and development. As during pregnancy, this is not a period of restrictions. However, it is important to monitor the quality of what you give them. Avoid ultra-processed foods that drive overconsumption and are often targeted and marketed to children. To achieve this, keep real food on hand at all times, avoid eating too much sugar, and get children used to the real tastes of real food.

Make sure that your child’s snacking is not related to a state of anxiety. If this is the case, it will have to be resolved so that it does not take refuge in food. There’s nothing wrong with eating a chocolate bar if it makes him happy. Just watch the quantity and the frequency, without forgetting the pleasure, which is fundamental to have a good relationship with food.

Children have better regulation of feelings of hunger and satiety than adults. Respecting and teaching them to listen to their own body’s signals is the best thing you can do for them. Educating on the consumption of real food, without neglecting pleasure, is a duty for parents.

Other tips from our dietitian-nutritionist about snacking

“It may happen that in times of stress and anxiety, you tend to take refuge in food to comfort you. First try to identify the feelings and emotions you are feeling. Accept them and welcome them with kindness is a good way to manage your emotions.

To avoid taking refuge in food, practice an activity that relaxes you and allows you to fight against stress and anxiety (yoga, meditation, reading, music). Learning to breathe correctly and mindfully will also help you better manage your emotions and feel a moment of peace and serenity.

Chew mindfully: chew at least 15 times before swallowing. Thus, you really discover the flavors that emerge. Or make time to eat for at least 30 minutes. A good technique for eating slowly is to leave the fork on the plate after each bite, and force yourself not to take it back until there is nothing left in your mouth.

The body needsat least 20 minutes to start feeling the signs of fullness. A good way to avoid overeating is to serve yourself only once or to wait a certain time (minimum 10-15 min) before serving again.

To maintain an established meal time rhythm, organize yourself: plan your meals according to a specific time slot. A good way to enjoy your lunch/dinner break and, afterwards, to avoid snacking since you will eat healthier. It can also avoid food waste, the monotony of meals, save money and also reduce stress related to cooking.

Practice Batch Cooking. This method consists, in a single session, in cooking entirely (or almost) the meals of the week. It is possible to devote two hours, for example on the weekend, to preparing all the dishes for the coming week. So if you don’t have time to cook in the evening when you get home from work, all you have to do is heat it up.”

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