There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. Views on snacking differ. Some of us feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain. Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight. If there were one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!
To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body. Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutrition, or because you are eating too little at meals. You might be snacking to soothe jangled nerves when you are emotional, or to entertain yourself when you are bored. Whatever your reason, acknowledge it and start thinking about how to create a life that is nourishing and truly satisfying.
Although snacks are no substitute for loving your life, they can be great energy boosters, mood lifters and a healthy and fun way to keep your body fully nourished, as long as you use a little common sense.
So many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars. When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious.
Snack on things that don’t come in a plastic wrapper or a box, like fresh fruit, leftover vegetables or rice cakes with almond butter and fruit spread. Make your own signature trail mix, organic hot chocolate made with almond milk sweetened with agave nectar, or blue corn chips with hummus.
You can also try “upgrading.” If you are craving something crunchy, upgrade from potato chips to raw carrots, apples or whole grain crackers; if you are craving a candy bar, upgrade to a handful of nuts and dried fruit; instead of a cup of coffee, upgrade to green tea; instead of ice cream, upgrade to applesauce with cinnamon. Upgraded snacks are high in nutrition and give you a greater sense of satiety and satisfaction; you won’t feel physically or psychologically deprived, and you’ll have plenty of energy to sustain your activities for hours.
Snacking is enjoyable and there are a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.
Food Focus: Fruit
A healthy lifestyle is the key to longevity, optimum weight, abundant energy and balance. By using fruit to satisfy our taste for sweetness, we can leave behind the use of chemical, processed and refined sweeteners. Fruits are easy to digest, are cleansing and cooling and are great for those who are overstressed and overheated from excessive mental strain or hot climates. Fruits are filled with fiber and liver stimulants, which act as natural, gentle laxatives. Whenever possible, buy fresh, locally grown fruit as opposed to imported fruits shipped from far-off places. This keeps you eating in season, and more in harmony with your environment and climate.
Eating raw fruit in summer months is highly cooling, while baking it in the winter months neutralizes the cooling effect. Fruit in the form of juice is a great choice for cleansing the body, but be aware that juice rapidly raises blood sugar levels, leading to an energy crash soon after. Frozen, whole, pureed or juiced fruit can make great summertime cool-down treats. Try frozen grapes, banana-coconut smoothie popsicles or lime juice ice-cubes in iced tea!
Whether you are having fresh fruit for a light early morning breakfast, a midday snack or evening treat, enjoy nature’s sweetness and whenever possible buy organic. Here are a few summer fruits and their health benefits:
Apricots: Great for lung conditions and asthma; used to help treat anemia due to their high copper and cobalt content.
Bananas: Help to lubricate the intestines, treat ulcers, detoxify the body, and manage sugar cravings; are rich in potassium (which helps hypertension).
Cherries: Slightly warming in nature; increase overall body energy, remedy arthritis and rheumatism, and are rich in iron, which improves the blood.
Grapefruits: Treat poor digestion, increase appetite during pregnancy, alleviate intestinal gas and reduce mucus conditions of the lungs.
Papayas: Tone the stomach, act as digestive aid, moisten the lungs and alleviate coughing; contain carpaine, an anti-tumor compound.
Raspberries: Benefit the liver and kidneys, cleanse blood of toxins, regulate menstrual cycles, treat anemia and can promote labor at childbirth.
Recipe of the Month
Fruit Nut Smoothie
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 servings
1 banana (try freezing a banana for thicker texture)
6 oz. sheep, goat or dairy plain yogurt or 1 cup rice, soy or dairy milk
1 cup berries
1 cup diced melon
1/2 cup almonds or 1-2 Tablespoons of nut butter (almond, peanut etc.)
2-4 ice cubes or 1/2 cup crushed ice
Optional: 1 -2 teaspoons agave nectar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract for added sweetness and flavor if using plain yogurt
1. Mix in blender for 1-2 minutes and serve.
Note: You can add other ingredients for added nutrition such as a spoon full of bee pollen, coconut oil, flax seed oil, spirulina powder or a scoop of protein powder.