Snack Smart

Snacking has become very popular in today’s society–so popular that people snack all day long to “increase their metabolism” to lose weight.  Now, the whole topic on food increasing your metabolism is a whole different topic for another day, but in short, food cannot boost your metabolism.  The only thing that can speed up your metabolism is exercising.  Again, we will save those details for another post.

So, what are the pros and cons of snacking? In short, the idea behind no snacking is that it gives your digestive system a break between each meal so that when food enters again, it will be ready to easily digest.

However, sometimes you really need to listen to your body’s hunger pains.  If an average person is on a 2,000 calorie diet that would mean he or she would need to consume around 670 calories per meal.  With careful consideration, it could easily be done.  Or even if one were to eat out for every meal, those allotted calories would easily be met or probably over-met.  For the health conscious individual, 670 calories may be hard to reach at each meal.  Some people are not breakfast eaters and may only consume 300 calories in the morning, so they would need a mid-morning snack in order to make it to lunch time.  Others have very high metabolisms or are very active and need a little boost between meals.  In these cases, snacking is good!  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that for a sedentary person, snacks should be about 200 calories.  For the more active individuals and children, snacks should be between 200 and 300 calories.

appetite apple close up delicious
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It is important that we be mindful with the snacks we choose.  A problem with snacking is that a lot of pre-packaged, processed snacks contain empty calories.  Empty calories are basically calories with little to no nutrient value.  While eating is a pleasurable activity, its soul purpose is to nourish our bodies.  Our goal is to combine healthful eating with pleasure.

Now that we have established that snacking is OK if your body tells you it is hungry, what are some ways to have nourishing, smart snacks?  From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they suggest having pre-planned snacks.  What all does this entail?  When you get home from the grocery store, try washing, chopping, and packaging all of your produce that way it is easily accessible when you and your family need a snack on-the-go.  If you love popcorn, air-pop some in advance and portion it out into sealable bags.  Those are just a couple of ideas to make snacks easily accessible.

What are some other smart snacking ideas that are around 200 calories, tasty, and healthful?  Below is a list of “Smart Snacking” options.  One thing I try to do with my snacks is to make it a combination of carbohydrate and protein.  By doing this, your blood sugar will not spike up high and immediately fall back down.  The protein helps gradually decrease blood sugar after it has risen.

Nuts are also a great option for snacks.  They are full of healthy fats, great for our brain and cells, especially walnuts!  Keep in mind that while nuts are very nutritious and a great source of omega 3, they do contain a lot of calories for a small amount.  A rule of thumb is about a handful, or 1/4 cup, is a serving.

If you try any of the snack items listed, please comment below to tell me how you liked them!  Also, if you have any favorite, nutritious snacks, please share!

  • Ants on a Log (2 celery stalks, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened raisins)
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite Trail Mix & 1 Clementine
  • 1 Banana with 1-2 Tablespoons Nut Butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup of baby carrots & 2 tablespoons of hummus (if you do not like hummus, you could try greek yogurt dips or low-fat salad dressing)
  • 1 slice of low-fat cheese & 6 crackers of choice
  • 1 single-serve container (about 1/2 cup) of Greek Yogurt (your flavor preference) & 1/2 cup of fresh/frozen berries
red strawberry and raspberry on white ceramic bowl
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  • 1 granola bar & navel orange
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter & drizzle of honey
  •  1/4 cup cashews & 5-10 fresh strawberries
  • Fresh fruit/veggie smoothie blended with skim or nut milk (added nut butter for extra protein)
  • Apple Nachos:  1 thinly sliced apple drizzled with 1 tablespoon of nut butter (may help if heated) & 1 tablespoon shredded, unsweetened coconut (want to splurge? Add 2 teaspoons of mini dark chocolate chips)

  • 1 hard boiled egg over 1 slice of 100% whole grain toast (you could also add veggies like sliced bell peppers, spinach, or cucumber for color, texture, fiber, and extra nutrients)
sliced egg on top of green salad with bread
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Those are just a few of the endless smart snacking options!  Remember to plan for your snacks that way you do not reach for something that has empty calories leaving you hungrier than you were before.  Until next time, keep snacking smart!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN









Resources:
www.eatright.org/~/media/eatright%20files/nationalnutritionmonth/handoutsandtipsheets/nutritiontipsheets/smartsnackingforadultsandteens.ashx.  Accessed January 23, 2017.

What Kind of Tree are You?

I had a professor, one very near and dear to my heart, ask us this question in class last quarter.  “If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?”

That is an interesting question, and one that I have never thought about.   I would like to think of myself as some really extraordinary, cool tree.  Something like a glorious, majestic cedar tree that smells like winter, or even an evergreen—Christmas trees make families happy and in the spirit of giving—but the truth is, I am neither of those; nor am I any other spectacular tree constantly bringing joy to others.  I think I relate to a persimmon tree.

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You may be thinking, huh, a persimmon tree.  I know—odd tree to choose.  However, when I think about it, a persimmon tree is very much my “spirit tree”.  The tree grows up to produce fruit.  This fruit that it produces has a prime season when it is ripe and delicious (if you like persimmons).  However, when the fruit is not ripe, it leaves a very astringent aftertaste.

Just like the persimmon tree, I have grown up to “blossom” into my intelligence, wisdom (kind of), and experience.  I have produced fruit—both good and bad.  My fruit is my characteristics.  I have good ones, but I have some bad ones too.  Just like the unripe persimmon, I can be very bitter and negative, making others think I am “astringent”.  On the other hand, and hopefully more times than none, I would like to think I produce the good fruit—the ripe fruit—the fruit that is sweet, sensitive, and refreshing—a positive fruit.

I think we all have times that we are proud of and times that we are not.  I will strive my hardest to produce more “good fruit” than bad that way my tree will survive and be successful.

Matthew 7:16 says, “You will recognize them by their fruits.  Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes  or figs from thistles?”  

So, think about it.  What kind of tree are you?  What are some things you could change to better yourself?  How can you inspire others and yourself to be the “good” fruit?

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Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

Resources:
Bible NLT, Translation TNL, Translation NL.  The Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers; July 1, 1997.

 

Why Live Better?

Hey, everyone!  It is a new year, and I am doing something that I have wanted to do for a long time–create a wellness blog!!   I strongly believe in living life to the fullest–this includes not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.  Having said that, this blog will include anything from weekly nutrition challenges to fitness tips all the way to spiritual inspiration.  I will be using my knowledge as a Nutrition & Dietetics student to create new recipes once a month to post for you all to see and try!  I would love to read your comments as well.

Let’s begin the first official “post” with something uplifting–something that can encourage all the aspects of wellness: physical, mental, and spiritual.

“A cheerful heart is GOOD MEDICINE,  but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

-Proverbs 17:22 New Living Translation

What does this mean to you?  

When I think about a cheerful heart, I think about things that make one happy.  Happiness is in the eye of the beholder, so many people have told me.  To me, this verse says that we need to have a happy, cheerful heart in order to live the way God wants us to live.  God does not want us to be miserable with a “broken spirit”, so He calls us to take care of our bodies.

We know from research that exercising releases endorphins which are the “happy” hormones.  These hormones are our natural pain killers.  If having a cheerful heart is good medicine, then we should be making our hearts cheerful by getting out and moving at least 30 minutes a day, whether it be for a walk, jog, workout, group fitness class, or sport.  Physical activity not only helps your body physically, but mentally as well.  Have you ever been stressed to the max and did not know how to be happy again?  Exercise can calm down your nerves resulting in a happier and healthier you!  A key aspect in fitness is finding what you enjoy doing.  If you do something you like, then you are more likely to keep doing it.

Do something for you today that can hit all three of these elements: physical, mental, and spiritual.  If times get tough, think about this verse and know that God can help you strengthen all areas of wellness.

background balance beach boulder
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References:

Bible NLT, Translation TNL, Translation NL.  The Holy Bible: New Living Translation.  Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers; July 1, 1997.