Snacking

May 16, 2011


It has been a while since I have written a blog entry.  I apologize to my readers.  I have been on the road the past couple weeks, but I am now back in my office.  

On my travels the past couple weeks, I have been asked time and time again about what to do in the way of snacks.    The questions have been all over the board.   Here is a sampling.

Dr. Wendy, do you snack?  Yes I do snack.  Not everyday.   Some days I get hungry between means – other days not so much.

Do we need to snack? Yes, at times, we need to snack.  First, let me say, that the first sign of dehydration is hunger.  Yes, hunger.   The first thing I recommend when you feel the urge to snack is to enjoy a glass of water.   Wait a few minutes.  Are you still hungry?   If the answer is yes, then it is time to snack.   If the answer is no, then most likely you were dehydrated and not hungry.

Dr. Wendy, what snack foods do you consume?  When picking a snack I always remember the quote “If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.”   And, “if it won’t rot, don’t eat it.”   Two very good quotes to eat by and they are particularly true for snack foods.  In our house, leftovers from previous meals are available for snack time.  Raw vegetables are always a good choice. You may want to have a container of clean, cut veggies available to grab right out of the fridge.   You may want to have peanut butter (remember a serving is 2 TBSP – measuring tablespoons) to dip the veggies in.  The peanut butter adds protein to the snack.   All kinds of fruit are good snacks.   Raw nuts and seeds are great pick me ups (again a great source of protein) – remember a serving size is quite small.  Our family enjoys air popped pop corn.  Please stay away from the microwavable popcorns.  They are full of flavorings, salt and preservatives. A cup of whole plain yogurt is a good snack.  If you feel the need to sweeten it, mix in a bit of raw honey/real maple syrup/ or a few raisins/dates/dried prunes.    When we are on the run, we tend to over eat.  Take a few minutes and sit down to have your snack.  Enjoy the taste and texture and eat 1 serving.   

What do I do for snacks when I am on the road?  Before I leave home, I plan for snacks.  I put together small bags of raw nuts and seeds (1 serving size bags).   I can leave these in my car for short periods of time (remember, raw nuts/seeds will rot).  I also have some fresh veggies and fruits with me.  I carry a small insulated bag in the summer with ice.   And, I always carry water.  When I begin to feel hungry, I reach for the water first.   Again, it is best to stop at a rest area to be able to sit and enjoy your snack and take a short walk.  You will feel refreshed and will be more alert while driving. 

Is snacking harmful?  Or is it good for you? That depends.  If you are truly hungry between meals, a small healthy snack is definitely good for you.   If you are eating unhealthy snacks and are eating out of boredom or dehydration, then they are not good for you.  Are you eating enough nutritious foods at mealtime?   If you are not eating nutritious foods, then you body will signal that it needs nourishment and you will feel hungry. 

How do I get my kids to eat healthier snacks?   Do not have unhealthy snacks in the house.   If only healthy snacks are available, your kids will get used to them and begin to eat healthier. There will be a period of adjustment, but the parent is in charge.  And, remember, say no to soda/juice drinks/flavored water/fitness water/Gatorade (ok to use immediately following a dehydrating workout).  Pure water is the best drink.

How do I keep my kids from eating too many snacks and then not wanting their dinner?  The rule in our house is:  no snacking (drinks included) within 1 hour of mealtime.   When the kids are hungry they will eat their meals.  I realize there will be whining involved in the beginning, but parents, hang in there.  Once the kids know the rules and learn that the rules are enforced, they will get used to having their snacks farther away from dinnertime.   

Good luck.   Eating should be a pleasurable family experience. 

 

For more nutrition and health information, contact Dr. Wendy at 231-348-0838 or pattonwendy@gmail.com   Dr. Wendy is available for individual appointments, phone appointments, group sessions, speaking engagements and is now offering a Corporate Wellness Program and a Stop Smoking Program.     

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