This week Holistic Nutritionist Zain Saraswati is sharing why healthy snacking is not only an important component of a balanced diet, but also aids weight loss, increases energy levels, and improves overall vitality.
We grow up learning that three meals a day will give our body the nourishment it needs. We’re also taught when to eat those meals so we can make the most of the day’s working hours. What we don’t learn is how effective eating between meals can make all the difference when it comes to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Snacking plays a key role in cultivating vitality, stabilizing moods and blood sugar, and aiding weight loss efforts in a huge way. I’ll break it down to explain why.
1. Healthy Snacking Keeps Your Blood Sugar Levels Balanced
Unstable blood sugar causes the release of harmful hormones such as insulin and cortisol. These hormones not only affect your mood (like when we get hangry!) but after being released in the body and not excreted, they also turn into fatty deposits around the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. For those prone to Type II Diabetes, healthy snacking between meals is imperative to keep blood sugar levels consistent.
2. Prevents Overeating at Meals and Poor Food Choices
Before introducing regular snacking into my life, I had a major issue controlling my appetite at meal times. I would find myself so hungry when dinner finally rolled around that I would eat anything and everything in sight. I tended to gravitate towards unhealthy foods that are high in sodium and sugar first, which would give me the quickest energy boost. However, very soon after I’d feel exhausted, lethargic, and guilty for eating so poorly.
This was clearly a natural reaction to not feeding myself enough throughout the day. When energy levels drop, the body naturally craves foods that are high in calories. Sadly, these foods are usually packed with preservatives, artificial flavours and colours, GMO’s, and well, junk. That’s why snacking helps to minimize overeating at meals and keeps you on track with healthy food choices.
3. Keeps Your Metabolism Revved!
If you’re trying to lose weight, snacking can seem counter intuitive. For years we’ve been told that the fewer calories we consume, the thinner we will be. So how can eating more actually help you reach your goals? It’s time to get rid of this “low calorie diet” myth.
In my experience, the key to weight loss is raising the metabolic rate, which is the speed at which your body converts food to energy in the form of heat. Regular healthy snacking supports the metabolism, which means the more you snack, the faster your metabolic rate becomes. I have found that the best balance is to eat every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day.
If you are not a snacker by nature, try introducing healthy bites between your meals for one week. After seven days of this pattern, your body will start to feel hungrier the following week. This is your metabolism naturally firing up!
4. Increases Your Overall Nutrition Needs
When your stomach starts rumbling, reach for choices that are high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats like raw nuts, seeds, and dried or fresh fruits. I also munch on raw or steamed veggies with homemade dips like hummus, as well as salads, soups, or smoothies. These wholesome choices will all add a plethora of nutrients to your diet, which strengthen the body and help to shield against illness, oxidization, and dehydration. They also support beautiful skin, hair, nails and a healthy digestive system.
There it is. Snacking is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t believe me? Try it out for a week and see how you feel! Let your body be the judge.
Zain Saraswati is an Ayurvedic, Holistic & Sports Nutritionist, Internationally Certified Kundalini, Sivananda and Ashtanga Yoga Teacher and Personal Coach who currently lives in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Zain uses her personal experience and knowledge to guide her clients to a balanced, healthy place within their minds, bodies and spirits. She works with those who are struggling to overcome weight issues and/or self-esteem issues, eating disorders, serious illness and those who are looking to gain a greater level of overall health.