When you decide to eat healthy, the focus is typically on your big meals. You say goodbye to the drive-thru window and teach yourself the secrets of whole foods and homemade meals. But what about the rest of your eating habits? Even if you find a solution to emotional eating and cut out mindless munching while watching TV, does that mean you also have to put an end to all snacking between meals?
The truth is that having a snack between breakfast and lunch or between lunch and dinner can help you on your path to healthy living. A well-placed snack between meals can prevent you from overindulging later and help keep your blood sugar and energy levels up. If your meals are 3–4 hours apart, it’s okay to have a healthy snack. Depending on your schedule, the best times to plan a snack are midmorning (around 10:30 a.m.) and sometime between lunch and dinner (roughly 3:30 p.m.).
The keyword here is “plan.” If you let yourself grab a snack every time you feel hungry, you might fall into the bad habit of snacking because you’re bored. Planning a time to snack cuts down on grazing and keeps you from consuming calories you don’t really need.
More important than when you snack is what you snack on. A candy bar from the vending machine or a semi-stale doughnut from the break room isn’t going to do you any favors. Choosing a cup of coffee as your afternoon pick-me-up isn’t the best option in the long run, either. When it comes to effective snacking, go for the healthy options. Think whole-grain toast with almond butter, an apple, or some vegetable soup.
Smart snacks planned throughout the day can be your secret weapon for overall healthy eating. So if you’re feeling hungry and your lunch break is still hours off, go ahead and treat yourself to a little snack — just make sure you have a healthy option in mind before you reach for the fridge.
Thanks for reading,
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