Should evening snacks be included?
The tiniest of toddler knows the importance of breakfast, but have we ever thought about evening snacks. One of my cherished childhood memories with food is the evening snack! On the way back home from school, I used to think about what would be today’s snack? However did we know that having an evening snack is a healthy practice?
We consciously have a bulky nutrient dense breakfast, but more than often we neglect evening snacking. The well-known saying is “Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dine like a Pauper”. But, how is one supposed to eat like a pauper if feeling very hungry at dinner time? The answer is – we should naturally feel less hungry at the dinner time. And for that, we must have a small meal 2-3 hour before dinner. It is absolutely acceptable if you do not feel that hungry for dinner after having evening snacks. In fact, evening snacking is the main purpose of it. You can cut down on the dinner portion size.
Many people avoid snacks because they are afraid that snacks contribute to weight gain. However, a healthy snack can offer health benefits. Snacks can even be included in a weight loss plan. The trick is to choose a snack with about 100 calories and a mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Aim to eat your snack about halfway between meals to keep energy levels consistent.
Eating a healthy snack allows you to add to your intake of essential nutrients. Fruits and vegetables add vitamins A and C, both of which are important for immunity, wound healing and teeth and gums. They also offer fiber and fill your stomach for very few calories. Add low-fat cheese, yogurt or hummus to increase protein intake, which is necessary for healthy muscles, skin, cells and hair. Whole grain crackers add complex carbohydrates and additional fiber. Low-fat dairy foods increase calcium intake, a nutrient that is needed for healthy bones. A handful of nuts at snack time adds healthy fats to your diet, which protects your heart and brain.
The goal is to make snacking a positive nutrition experience that helps meet dietary recommendations. The risk of gaining weight by snacking is low when snacks are part of a well-planned, energy-balanced diet. Patients and clients should understand to eat healthy snacks, inorder to lose weight, or reduce risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. What counts in the end is the choice of food you chose for snacking.