Recently LiveScience.com wanted to speak to us about 'Healthy Eating Habits' Ofcourse we were very happy to contribute. Here are some of the areas we covered.
Should you snack between meals, or is it better to give your digestive system a break?
Food consumption and nutrition is individual to each person based on multiple variants. These include, but are not limited to factors such as age, gender, weight, genetic makeup, metabolic rate, activity, hormone function, stress, and lifestyles.
If we take an average adult, who eats a normal portion size as advised by Association of UK Dieticians then small snacking that consists healthy choices may be helpful to keep your energy levels moderated and could prevent one from becoming overly hungry and over eating at next meal. Whilst there have been theories about grazing throughout the day and that small snacking can increase metabolic rates, many studies have been conducted to test the theory. The results have been inconclusive scientifically and cannot be proved. Ultimately it's about calories consumed vs calories expended. Whether snacking is beneficial or not depends on why you are snacking, the snack choices and how much.
If your body is signalling genuine hunger and you experience a dip in energy levels, then snacking can be beneficial to regulate energy levels and to control over consumption during main mealtimes. However, if you are simply responding to snacking habits, brain simulation of temptation by chocolates and unhealthy snacks, then snacking can lead to weight gain and other issues.
When it comes to children, the research by the NCBI suggests that young children have smaller glycogen stores have been shown to store less glycogen than adults. Especially if they are active and involved in sporting activities regularly during prolonged exercise, they may experience early onset of fatigue due to their lower glycogen stores. Due to this young athletes may benefit from that regular top ups by way of snacking.
In terms of giving a break to your digestive system, I would say every function needs a break and same applies to digestive system too. Thus, allowing the digestive system to take a break especially at nights when it’s doing its repair and recovery work will be ideal time to give the system a break. It is advised to allow around 3-hour break between your last main meal to bedtime. This allows just enough time to ensure foods gets digested properly and helps prevent indigestion and bloating.
Is there any difference between snacking in the morning, vs afternoon or before bed say?
This again very much relates to individual as there is not generic answer due to so many varying lifestyles and variants. Many studies have been conducted to test timing of snacking, types of snacking etc.
One study reported that high protein meal contributed to higher levels of satiety. Another tested the effectiveness of dairy-based snacks after breakfast, reducing the calorie intake for lunch. This study concluded although reduced amount was eaten at lunch the overall calorie consumption did go up. Another study proved that high protein, high fibre snacking reduced the overall calorie intake. Even though multiple studies have been conducted to test the various snacking hypothesis, overall results remain inconclusive.
Body is smart enough to give your brain the neuro transmission signalling when you are genuinely hungry. Listening to our bodies and eating just enough to keep us satisfied without overeating is key. How, when, where and how much is also important. Try to be mindful of your eating and be present. Chewing 20 x times will not only help your digestion work at its optimum but it will also help your food to be absorbed well and become bio available. This will apply to both main mealtimes and snacking. Whilst it’s good to give your body a break at night times, if your body hasn’t had adequate calories or you are a night-time worker then snacking pattern needs to be altered.
What are some healthy and filling Snacking Ideas:
Variety is the essence of life I love to combine varied textures, colours and flavours. This is great for your gut health too.
- Crunchy Vegetables like Peppers, Carrots, Celery Crudites with zero fat Greek Yogurt, chopped parsley, mint, squeeze of lemon and topped with dash of paprika will tantalise your taste buds. You can even add a tiny pinch of pine nuts to this.
- Trail mix with chopped dates or chopped fresh fruits make a very satisfying, fibre, protein and omega 3 rich snack
- Crunchy apples with a spoonful of peanut butter as dip is a another home fav.
- If you like savoury, I particularly like to tear whole wheat Tortilla wrap, lightly spray with oil spray, a dash of garlic salt and stick it in the oven for couple of min. et Voila your own healthy Tortilla chips which you can dip into your own tomatoes salsa that you can make at home with chopped tomatoes, coriander, and lime juice and seasoning.
- Home-made Guacamole / or shop bought will work too with Rice cakes. For high protein option you can use pastrami slices instead of the rice cakes
- A small pot of Greek yogurt topped with roasted nuts and blueberries
- Hard boiled egg with seed mix
For the full article on Live Science.com and the wider expert view refer to their link - https://www.livescience.com/36480-healthy-snacks-feeling-full.html