Snacking Healthy & Smart to Lose Weight, and Keep it Off
In her article, “Why Are Healthy Snacks Important,” Eliza Martinez listed four reasons everyone should consider consuming healthy snacks.
- Increase nutrient intake – Consuming healthy snacks allows the intake of important nutrients. Fruits and veggies add vitamins A & C, both of which are essential for immunity, wound healing, and even maintaining healthy teeth and gums. These vitamins also provide fiber, which fills the stomach and helps you feel satiated. When low-fat cheese, yogurt, or hummus are added, protein intake increase, which is necessary for muscle health, cells, skin, and hair.
- Controls the appetite – Having a snack between meals prevents the body from becoming hungry and helps you avoid grabbing unhealthy junk food. A quality snack keeps hunger on the sidelines and allows you to stick to a moderate amount of food until it is time to eat the next meal. Select snacks such as string cheeses, fruit, peanut butter on whole grain crackers are low in calories but will help with satiety.
- Boosts energy – A quality snack made from complex carbohydrates, protein, and good fats enhances energy levels for a more extended period than sugary snacks. This is because sugar causes the blood sugar to increase and then crash, leaving the body hungry and lethargic. Complex carbohydrates are a good and stable source of energy, and making it part of a healthy snack boosts power for tasks between meals.
- Improved concentration – According to the American Dietetic Association, the addition of healthy snacks between meals improves focus and performance. Children who are able to comprehend and retain what they study in the classroom perform at a higher rate when their nutrition is fueled consistently. In adults, eating a small snack in the afternoon allows them to complete tasks quickly and efficiently.
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Densie Webb, PhD, RD, wrote an article in Today’s Dietician explaining how we snack. She mentioned that:
“Americans are snacking more than ever. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data show that between 1977–1978 and 2007–2008, the percentage of adults who snacked increased from 59% to 90%. In 1977–1978, 73% of adults snacked only once daily or not at all. In 2007–2008, almost two-thirds of adults snacked two or more times daily, contributing an average of 24% of total daily calories (586 kcal for men and 421 kcal for women).
According to a cross-sectional study of 4,259 obese men and women and 1,092 subjects used as a reference population, nearly one in six adults obtain more than 40% of their total daily calories from snacks. Overall, adults aged 60 and older consume fewer calories from snacks than younger groups.
NHANES data also show that 83% of adolescents consume at least one snack on any given day. Snacking among children has increased dramatically over the past few decades as well. Children currently snack almost three times per day, meaning more than 27% of their total daily calories come mostly from desserts and sweetened beverages.
What’s more, in a systematic review, television watching likely contributes to excessive snacking, regardless of age. However, in adults, alcohol consumption is more likely than television to trigger “the munchies,” according to a meta-analysis.
While children need additional nutrition that some healthful snacks can provide, it’s unclear whether the shift to three meals and three snacks per day(which has been recommended) with questionable nutritional value will actually cause increased negative physiological effects such as changes in insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels that may contribute to health issues, including weight gain and obesity.
Basically by advocating for this type of meal plan and level of snacking, parents are more likely to fill the gaps with not so healthy food and snack options. This also ignores the great disparity between people in regards to activity level, size, metabolism and so on, whether a child or not.
Nonetheless, the increase in snacking among all age groups raises a red flag about the effect it may have on health, especially on the growing epidemic of metabolic disorders and obesity, as nearly one-third of American children and adolescents and almost 70% of adults are either overweight or obese.
Check out our list of go to snacks to maintain a healthy brain and body. BUT just because some snacks are very healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be snacking on them. If you are already meeting your daily caloric intake for what you are burning for that day, then even healthy snacking can contribute to weight gain.
In addition, the article also suggested tips on making healthy snacks part of the diet. They are as follows:
- Don’t add snacks, even healthy snacks, to your diet if you’re already meeting your daily calorie requirements.
- Plan and prepare nutritious snacks. Don’t engage in mindless snacking while watching television, for example, which can add excess calories. (For more information about mindless eating and ways to get it under control, visit www.mindlesseating.org).
- Choose high-protein snacks such as low-fat and fat-free yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, reduced-fat cheese, nuts, and hard-boiled eggs. Protein leaves you more satisfied than carbohydrates or fats.
- Choose snacks from more than one food group (e.g., carrot sticks and yogurt, apples and peanut butter, reduced-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers) rather than single-item snacks (e.g., cheese, crackers, yogurt) to consume a wider variety of nutrients.
- Think outside the snack box and eat breakfast foods, such as cereal and skim milk or scrambled eggs and toast, or leftovers from dinner, including glazed carrots, vegetable stew, or lentil soup.
- Choose snacks that contribute to recommended food groups, such as low-fat and fat-free yogurt, whole grain breads and crackers, and fruits and vegetables.
- Create a snack choice list to keep from getting in a snacking rut.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND, in her article entitled, “What Science Says about Snacking,” discussed the effect of snacking on metabolism:
“Eating frequency has the potential to affect metabolic parameters other than weight and body fat. In the two-month meal replacement study previously mentioned, there were no differences in cholesterol or triglyceride levels between those eating either three or four times daily.
“However, when seven healthy men consumed identical diets as either three daily meals or 17 daily ‘nibbles’ (defined as smaller than a regular snack) for two weeks, cholesterol measurements were better with the nibbling pattern. This study has limitations due to its small sample size, so more research is needed to support the findings.
“Additionally, two single-day studies found improvements in blood sugar and lipids when adults with Type 2 diabetes ate more often. But a four-week study among people with Type 2 diabetes found no such advantage when comparing nine small meals to three larger meals and one snack.”
To top this off, healthy eating isn’t only the highlight in the recipe below. The addition of a nootropic brain enhancing ingredients is a smart choice as well.
Impressive Health Benefits of Salmon
Megan Ware RDN LD, in the article, “Salmon: Health Benefits, Nutritional Information,” enumerated five varieties of salmon and provided the fish’s nutritional breakdown:
- Chinook salmon is highest in fat, most expensive, and desired for its silken texture.
- Sockeye salmon is lower in fat but still has enough fat for the salmon flavor to come through, and to be rich for brain health.
- Coho salmon has a milder flavor and is often targeted by sport fishermen.
- Humpback salmon is more delicate, pale in color, and not consumed as often.
- Chum salmon is lower in fat and often used in sushi. If you've ever ordered in sushi, this is it. They aren't grinding up the best cuts for the spicy salmon roll, sorry.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 3 oz. of cooked Sockeye salmon (approximately 85g) contains:
- 133 calories
- 5g of fat
- 0g of carbohydrate
- 22g of protein
The same amount of cooked Sockeye salmon also provides:
- 82% of daily vitamin B12 needs
- 46% of selenium
- 28% of niacin
- 23% of phosphorus
- 12% of thiamin
- 4% of vitamin A
- 3% of iron
Salmon also contains cholesterol, although recent studies have suggested that the cholesterol content in food does not necessarily increase harmful cholesterol in the body.
Saturated fat intake in the past has been blamed for an increase in harmful cholesterol levels, however this is now being debated and salmon is not a significant source of saturated fat.
Here are impressive benefits of consuming salmon listed by Health Line:
- It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids – A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of farmed salmon has 2.3 grams of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, while the same portion of wild salmon contains 2.6 grams.
- It is a great source of protein – A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon contains 22–25 grams of protein. A research conducted by Layman et al., 2015 found that for optimal health, each meal should provide at least 20–30 grams of high-quality protein.
- It is an excellent source of B-vitamins:
o Below is the B vitamin content in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of wild salmon:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 18% of the RDI
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 29% of the RDI
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 50% of the RDI
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 19% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 47% of the RDI
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid): 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 51% of the RDI
- It is a good source of potassium – Salmon contains more potassium than an equivalent amount of banana, which provides 10% of the recommended dietary intake.
- It is loaded with selenium – A 100-gram serving of salmon provides 59–67% of the RDI of selenium, a mineral involved in protecting bone health, improving thyroid function, and reducing the risk of cancer.
Brain-Boosting Smoked Salmon Pate in Roasted EggplantServes 6
1 aubergine eggplant, medium-sized, sliced
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
250g smoked salmon, chopped into small pieces
300g cream cheese
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 scoop Momental MIND Nootropic
1 stalk spring onions, chopped
1 stalk chives, chopped
½ tablespoon dried dill
Juice from 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 350F. Arrange eggplant pieces on a baking dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In a food processor, combine all the remaining ingredients. Pulse until everything is incorporated, and mixed thoroughly.
- Dollop a teaspoonful of the mixture on top of the eggplant slices. Serve.