Friday night, I posed a question on social media about favorite snacks only to have one individual respond “I do not snack, I eat 3 meals a day”. Now, with social media conversations too much is left out of context to where you do not always know if the person is just being concise in their statement because that is how they write, or possibly their shortness is just them being a tad bit snarky. We just do not know when there is no tone of voice to be heard, or body and facial expressions to be seen. Unless I am given reason to believe otherwise, I will always assume they are just concise in how they write, and that is no problem with me.
So, should I snack or not?
My question to you would be – what are you trying to accomplish with a snack?
Well dummy, I’m trying to quell my hunger, DUH!
Okay, now for me to be serious about my question of what are you trying to accomplish. If you are snacking purely out of boredom as we can be prone to do, I would say not to snack. If you are working at maintaining your metabolism, by controlling your blood sugar and insulin levels, then by all means enjoy a couple healthy snacks during the day. There is no hard and fast rules written anywhere dictating if it is alright for you to snack or not, Nor should there ever be as long as what you are consuming is providing benefit to your body as a whole.
If you are going to eat junk foods that are full of sugar, simple carbs and unhealthy fats and excessive sodium, just say NO to yourself.
If your snack is something good for your body, GO FOR IT!
Me personally, I snack almost all day on most days of the week. I have a certain amount of calories and macronutrients as a goal to consume each and every day. For me, by spreading my consumption of foods out during the course of the day, it is a better method for managing my blood sugar levels. It keeps me on an even keel to enjoy an ounce of almonds, maybe a couple boiled eggs, whole fat Greek yogurt, and fruit during the day, These are all healthy snacks that provide my body with the nourishment of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats which keep my body fit, trim and healthy. These snacks help give me the energy to perform my physically demanding job and to keep up with my hard core weight training regimen that I work at 4 days per week. If this is more than your body needs, then you do not need to do it. But, if it helps to keep you well mentally and physically, then by all means snack away on healthy foods.
A snack does not necessarily have to be junk food.
Create your snack to be a small, but well composed meal instead.
Losing weight is about more than just cutting calories. It is about managing your metabolism, and even if yours is slow, you can still learn to manage it.
The bottom line of controlling your metabolism lies in controlling the metabolic hormones in your body, insulin and glucagon specifically. When you consume a meal, or snack comprised of a good blend of the macronutrients you need for optimal health, you set the hormonal tone in your body for the next several hours.
Your body needs protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats!
At some point in time, you will need to recharge with more macronutrients to fine tune the metabolic system again. How often you need to do this is all unique to each individual, considering how active you may be, or the physical condition of your body. In other words, if you carry too much body fat, it may be better for you to eat up to 6 small meals per day instead of 3. This is just one of those things you have to figure out, as your needs can, and will change as your body composition changes. What you need one year from today may be entirely different than what you need today, and that is a natural part of achieving a healthy body through weight loss.
Snacks while on the run should provide you with protein and complex carbohydrates. I deliver construction and industrial supplies from a semi during the week and with a 60 hour work week, I am always on the go. Yet, I pre-plan my road food and carry premeasured almonds, a couple boiled eggs, an apple, and yogurt along with a lean deli meat wrapped in a high fiber tortilla which I wash down with a protein shake. I also carry plenty of bottled water in order to remain well hydrated while on the road.
If you find yourself having to buy food while on the go, with a little bit of planning you can always find something healthy to carry you over until you can have a proper meal. It may take a little bit of work to find commercially available snack foods that are not full of sugar or refined carbohydrates, but it is not impossible. Just do not convince yourself that any of the fat free versions of any junk food are any better than the types full of fat. Usually fat free foods have more sugar added to them to improve the taste that is lost when the fat is removed. If you are going to succumb to a junk food snack, you might as well go ahead and get the ones with fat since fat is actually more satiating than non-fat.