“Everyone should eat 6 small meals per day…” NOT!
Typically, I urge my patients to eliminate snacks from their day and stick to the three meal structure. Here are my reasons:
- Unconscious Eating. Snackers almost ALWAYS eat more for their snacks than they realize.
- Unable to Achieve “Small Meals.” Snackers have a hard time scaling back meals to accommodate the large amount of snacking they did earlier.
- Junk Food Central. Snacks are low in nutrient density. (In shorter words, typical snacks are usually junk.)
- Hard to Stop Eating. Snack companies can only make more money if they convince you to eat more snacks. Therefore, they work very hard to create an addict/junkie relationship. Snack food is MEANT to keep you coming back for more.
- Encouraging Hunger. Snacks made of mostly carbohydrates can actually cause you to be hungrier and overeat later in the day.
- Never Fasting. Just like it’s important to have time WITH your food. It’s also important to have time AWAY from your food.
But, trust me. I get it. Sometimes you’re hungry and you just need something to eat to “take the edge off” until your next mealtime. Or maybe you’re not a person that needs to worry about losing weight. Maybe you have snacks in case you get stuck in a place where there is no “acceptable food” to eat.
For these situations, let me recommend the following strategies:
- Remove a Portion. When trying to snack responsibly, it’s important to separate your portion from the box/container straight away. No one does well monitoring intake from an endless bowl of cheese crisps.
- Daily Limits Help. If you like to snack often, try to limit yourself to a daily limit. This way you can eat as often as you like. But, when your snack is gone… it’s gone. Rationing is key.
- Keep Your Snacks Simple. The less processing the less likely you are to become addicted. Snack on foods that were available 100 years ago.
- 200 Calories or Less. Unless you’re a person that works out on a regular basis, you probably should try to keep your snacking to a reasonable calories amount. One bag of popcorn for 500 calories does NOT qualify as a “snack.”
So, with those rules in mind… here is your new amazing snack.
Recipe: Flourless “Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies
- 1/4 C Walnut Halves, Roasted or Raw
- 2 Tbsp Raisin (mixed variety for color)
- 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
- Place ingredients in paper bag for daytime snack.
- Leave the house.
- Ration accordingly throughout the day. I recommend a ratio of 1 walnut to 3 raisins. Salt will stick to raisins to make it taste like a cookie.
A Note to the Diabetics: This snack would be considered 15g of carbohydrates because of the raisins. However, I usually only eat 3 raisins at a time – spacing it out over several hours of the day. This ends up being pennies over the span of the day. No big impact to your blood sugar and much better for you than reaching for a real cookie.