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How to Snack Successfully

September 16th, 2011 Healthy Living

Eating small meals or snacks every three hours or so is actually a lot healthier than eating three large meals in a day. Snacking keeps your blood sugar more constant, prevents you from getting too hungry and makes you less likely to overindulge when you do eat a large meal. The key to doing so successfully lies in what foods you eat, not when you eat. Here are a few tips to help you become a good nibbler.

1. Don't rely on vending machines for a quick fix. Unless there's a really healthy option in there, it's better to make your own snacks, which typically are more nutritious.

2. Choose goodies that are high in fiber and nutrients to avoid consuming empty calories. Think whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

3. For a more filling option, find something with plenty of protein, fiber and heart healthy fats - they take longer to digest and provide more energy over time. You can get this by mixing treats like fruit and cheese or vegetables and nuts.

4. Lower your stress levels to avoid unhealthy munching. Cortisol, a hormone released in your body when you're under pressure, increases your appetite for carbs and sweets, which you want to avoid if you don't want to crash later.

5. Good news for women who get cravings during their period - your body burns more calories when you're ovulating, so eating a little extra once a month is perfectly okay.

6. Get plenty of calcium. It's healthy, filling and there are tons of delicious options out there, like Greek yogurt.

7. Cut down on sodium levels, which can make you retain water and decrease the amount of calcium your body absorbs.

8. Drink plenty of water! You've probably heard this before, but it's easy to confuse thirst with hunger, so next time you think you're hungry, try drinking a glass of water first.