Sunday, August 1, 2010

Snacking = Fuel!

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on July 27, 2010.

Snacks equal treats in many people's minds. Snacks do not equal fuel. There's no reason that a snack can't satisfy your cravings and still give your body more than just empty calories.

Some people load up on sugary snacks, such as jellybeans and licorice. People think they're great snacks because they're fat-free. But they're loaded with simple sugars that don't fuel you for very long. The same goes for diet cookies, most 100 calorie packs, and ice cream bars —Three popular snacks among Weight Watchers members. Some savory snacks, such as microwavable kettle corn and individual packs of crackers, don't give your body much more than a rush of carbohydrates. These types of snacks may be best used as late night snacks. Late at night we just crave a little something extra and we aren’t really looking for that energy fuel that we need earlier in the day.

Clean up your snack act
So what sorts of snacks earn the highest seal of approval? Think about food combining when choosing a snack. Consider the Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines and try to achieve several within each snack. We demonstrated this technique with the note card game we played in the meeting room this week. Protein is the most filling component in foods, then carbohydrates, and lastly sugars and starches. Try to pair protein with carbs when choosing your snacks when wanting to gain energy.

Here are some smart snack ideas to get you started:
• Enjoy yogurt with almonds and fruit — you'll get the benefits of dairy, fruit, protein and some healthy fat.
• Pair an apple with low-fat cheese (and you've got some dairy, fruit and protein covered).
• Add low-fat cheese to your favorite salty carb snack. Or team it up with some peanut butter or bean-based dip (go ahead be a rebel try the hummus) and you've upped your dairy or protein intake. Keep in mind that many soy-based chips give you a leg up over potato chips when it comes to protein and fiber, so that's a big plus, too.

Take it one snack at a time
Changing what you eat and how you perceive food is tough, so it's important to take it slowly. Replace a high-sugar item with something more nutritious, one snack at a time. Then assess how you feel: Write down how long you feel full, how long the snack affects your energy level or how long you can concentrate at work. It's easier to make changes when you can "see" the benefit.

That said, it's not necessary to steer clear of all your favorite sweet treats. Deprivation can sometimes lead to its own cycle of overeating. Get the max from sugary snacks by:
• Freezing small, individually wrapped candy bars, since frozen foods take longer to consume. Try some of our weight watcher mini bars frozen. YUMMM takes a little longer to eat so you really get to savor every bite!
• Opt for automatic portion control with 100 calorie packs to prevent you from eating more than recommended.
• Choosing items with long-lasting eating-power like lollipops and sucking candies and you must never underestimate the power of Fruities and Sugar Free gum!

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