Why this development can support nutrition and health
We love snacks! Whether in between, in the evening or during sports. But the exciting question is always: But how does it actually work? When is a snack allowed and how much is ok? And above all: What is on the table or plate? One reason to take a closer look and see what advantages the new trend of "healthy snacking" can have and what this can look like when implemented.
What snacks do to us - A look at eating habits
Whether salty or sweet, snacks are tasty little things to satisfy hunger in between. But you quickly fall into the calorie trap. People used to have snacks, today they snack and are therefore very much in vogue. The terminology has changed, but not the constant intake of calories, which can make you fat or even ill in the long run. Snacking on a piece of chocolate or a piece of cake every now and then during the day - for many, the small snacks are simply part of it. Snacking refers to the consumption of snacks during the day. Most of the time, we snack because we're more likely to feel hungry, stressed, tempted by other people, or because snacks are within reach. But bad habits often lead to a vicious circle: the more fast food, sweets and snacks we eat, the worse we feel and the less performance we provide in training. Because if we constantly snack wrong, then the body never switches to "sober". In nutritional science, it is therefore advised to always leave at least three hours between meals, otherwise the insulin level is constantly increased and fat burning does not get going. That means it's easier to gain weight. Healthy snacking can probably be a good alternative here. But what does that mean?
Healthy Snacking - What does that mean?
First of all, it is fundamental that you eat snacks very consciously, not while walking or not standing, because otherwise the body will not save the snack as a meal. It is also important that you pay attention to your own overall balance and thus also know your basal metabolic rate. So if you want to consciously and happily treat yourself to a small cake with your coffee, it would be important to save calories in the main meals. This keeps the weight stable.
In order to keep the blood sugar level stable and not to be plagued by hunger in between, it helps to eat a little something every few hours. It is important not to wait too long when the body sends hunger signals. This can quickly lead to people reaching for unhealthy and high-calorie snacks more quickly. It is therefore best to plan your snacks in advance and prepare them with Meal-Prep. Especially in the afternoon slump, you tend to eat something sweet with your coffee. However, the choice should be made specifically for snacks that do not contain any refined carbohydrates, otherwise the feeling of hunger and lack of energy can quickly return.
A snack between meals must not be the size of a whole meal and should only contain between 200 and 300 calories. Anyone who does a lot of sport and is constantly on the move even during work can also use larger snack portions. It is important that you get a feeling for how many calories are actually contained in the food. Because many snacks, such as nuts, are healthy but contain a lot of energy. To get a feeling for the portion sizes, you can use your hands as a guide. With fruit, the portion can be as big as your own fist. High-calorie foods — like nuts or seeds — should make up a small handful. High-calorie and high-fat snacks — like nut butters — should be about the size of your thumb. So much for the implementation. But what about the ingredients and composition of the snacks?
Ingredients and composition – what is important?
Most snacks that you buy and then eat quickly contain a lot of sugar, fat and salt. If you want to snack healthily, you should make sure that your snacks contain lots of healthy nutrients that are good for the body. It is also important that you eat healthy fats, for example. These are especially found in treats like nuts, hummus, and avocados. If you make sure that you also eat proteins and roughage, you will help your body to create a feeling of satiety faster and for longer. This also keeps the blood sugar level at a constant level for longer and prevents the refrigerator from being plundered at some point.
Are protein bars and protein snacks also considered healthy snacks?
Protein bars, for example, can be a great helper in stressful situations. Most bars are around 200 calories or less. You should also orientate yourself on this area, because it is definitely sufficient for a snack in between. A healthy source of protein is always important here: the best include milk, whey (also known as "whey"), casein and soy. Other sources like collagen or gelatin are also found in many bars. Collagen has been proven to have a positive impact on the health of bones and connective tissue and supports regeneration. A combination of several protein sources is always advantageous. And the fat? As little as possible, preferably less than 10 grams.
The topic of sugar and sweeteners is also exciting here: sucrose, dextrose, glucose, fructose, syrup, etc. Behind all these terms is sugar - and some bars contain it in large quantities. This is an advantage after a run, because the combination of proteins and carbohydrates form a good basis for optimal regeneration – but sugar should only be included in small amounts as a snack on the go. Many bars contain sweeteners (acesulfame K, aspartame, sucralose,...) or sugar substitutes (maltitol, erythritol, xylitol,...) that have little or no calories. The advantage: They are metabolized independently of insulin and thus only allow the blood sugar level to rise minimally. In addition, they do not cause tooth decay and are therefore healthier for our teeth.
Can Healthy Snacks Help With Illness?
Yes and no. Snacks don't cure diseases. A healthy diet, like healthy snacks, can help but not cure. In the case of diseases such as cancer, the aim of therapy is to avoid excessive weight loss. Therefore, repeated snacks make sense here. Same with digestive problems. Too large amounts can cause problems, so it is worthwhile to have several smaller meals.
The daily energy balance is decisive for the development of body weight. Healthy snacks are a good way to provide the body with vitamins and minerals that are lacking in main meals. The secret of a healthy diet is simply variety, which is important not only for main meals but also for snacks. The goal of healthy snacks is to prevent slumps in performance and avoid cravings by keeping blood sugar levels constant. Snacks with a high sugar content are therefore less suitable, as they raise the blood sugar level for a short time, but also cause it to drop again just as quickly - the feeling of satiety does not occur. The perfect snack should contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Of course, an adequate supply of carbohydrates is also important for good brain performance. At the same time, the energy density of the snack should be kept within limits (approx. 10% of the daily energy intake) so that the calorie balance of the day does not exceed the requirement.