When you start fishing in your pocket for change for the evil vending
machine, stop! Most people feel the need of a "little something" now and then
during a busy day, but taking a second to "snack smart" will save you time,
calories, and even money.
"Food is so available," Laurie A. Higgins, MS, RD, a pediatric
nutrition educator at the Joslin
Diabetes Center in Boston, tells WebMD, "people don't take any with them
and end up grabbing the fast, easy thing." This may be the worst, greasiest,
sugariest, empty-calorie abomination on the face of the earth (OK,
You know yourself, Higgins says, you know your age, weight, disease status
low blood sugar), food allergies, whether you are
pregnant or not. It's up to you to select the snack that fits both your
individual needs and the occasion at hand. One size (and gooshy or crunchy
mouth feel) does not fit all.
Simple Secrets to Portion Control and Healthy Eating
Snack With a Purpose
If you are a between-meals eater, look at your eating pattern, Roberta
Larson Duyff, MS, RD, author of the American Dietetic Association's Complete
Food and Nutrition Guide, tells WebMD. "It may be a snack -- for you -- is a
fourth meal or a good way to get a nutrient you missed. Think of it that
What are some common snacking moments, and what might you use to fill them
When you need a wake-up or energy jolt. It's smart to eat a
small breakfast of carbs and protein (cereal, egg, milk), says Duyff. It's even
OK for most people to have a sensible amount of coffee, she says. "Have a latte
with milk; that way you get a protein hit," she says (a candy bar will not give
you the boost you want, she notes). Higgins also advises having milk or protein
foods such as peanuts or cottage cheese.
Before leaving the office for a meeting. If you don't know
when lunch is coming and need to be on top of your game, a piece of fruit or
chunk of cheese is good. "Some people, especially young people, eat lunch
early, so morning snacks may not even be needed, Higgins says.
working out. "The term 'carbo loading' refers to hours before an
athletic event," Audrey T. Cross, PhD, professor of nutrition at Columbia's
Mailman School of Public Health, tells WebMD. "But right before -- especially
after a day of work -- you might want to prime the pump with a piece of fruit
and a big glass of water."
After school or work. Depending on when dinner is
scheduled, many people need a little nourishment when they get at home.
Pediatric nutrition specialist Higgins recommends adolescents who are eating
dinner late or running back out to athletic events eat a small meal consisting
of a sandwich and a glass of milk -- regardless of whether they are diabetic or
not. "Otherwise, young people come home and eat all the way until dinner, a
cookie, a cracker, a soda; they are never satisfied. A sandwich is better."