By: Erin Kukura, MS, RD
UCSD Recreation Dietitian
I often get asked about snacking, is this recommended, and what kinds of snacks should I be eating? Read on to learn more:
- Enjoying a snack can be a great way to curb hunger and keep your energy levels and concentration up throughout the day.
- Oftentimes, I see individuals wait too long to eat in between meals and this can lead to overeating behaviors and consuming unbalanced meals.
- What we eat as snacks can impact our satiety, energy and blood sugar levels.
- If we eat something for a snack that’s primarily just carbohydrate (a piece of fruit, chips…) oftentimes we may find ourselves hungry again not too long afterwards.
- Which is why I oftentimes recommend eating a snack with a protein/fat along with a carbohydrate for more optimal satiety, fullness and consistent energy levels.
- Some examples might include:
- Yogurt + berries or nuts
- Trail Mix
- Peanut Butter + Apple
- Dried Fruit + Nuts
- Cheese + Crackers
- Guacamole + vegetables
- Hummus + pita chips
- Energy Bites
- Roasted chickpeas
- The key is to be prepared and have some of these things readily available. Whether at home, your car, or at work.
- Additionally, pay attention to your hunger cues. Over time you can start to differentiate are you meal hungry or snack hungry.
- Likewise, if you find yourself eating snacks out of boredom, stress, or procrastination start to address how that may be a coping strategy and what other tools you can do instead. A topic we will dive in further in a future segment.
Snacking can be a great way to keep your energy levels and mood more stable throughout the day. Additionally, eating more whole-type of foods for snacks can be a great way to keep those energy levels consistent and provide nutrient-dense foods. This is also a great time to check-in with your body and your eating habits. If you find your often really hungry or overeating in the evening try incorporating an afternoon snack to prevent that eating behavior.
And if you’d like to improve your relationship with food, schedule an appointment with Erin Kukura, MS, RD (UCSD Recreation Dietitian).