As you may already know, each month we invite members of The Fuse Fitness to challenge themselves to take their fitness to the next level. For example, last month we focused on practicing perfect form when exercising.
This month’s challenge has been inspired by our very own members. As group exercise instructors, we have noticed that during classes, in between huffing and puffing, many of us are talking about what we are cooking, eating and experimenting with in the kitchen. So, we thought, let’s invite everyone to share the healthy meals and recipes they eat when enjoying breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Everyday People Eating Everyday Foods
This challenge is not advocating for any particular diet or eating regime. In our opinion there are too many fad diets, drinks and services that capitalize on a “weight obsessed” culture. Instead we want to hear what healthy foods and recipes everyday people are buying, cooking and eating.
Snacking – Eating in Between Meals
We start the healthy eating conversation and challenge with snacks. Most of us love them, some of us more than others. There are many studies weighing the pros and cons of snacking and the influence on our overall health. There is also a great deal of discussion regarding the reasons people snack. These reasons are complicated, a combination of cultural, social, practical, and personal influences are involved. For the purposes of this article, we will not be exploring either area of inquiry. We will work under the assumption that many of us like to snack and we will look at ways that we can make snacking work for us.
Snacking Over the Years
Snacking is different for different types of people: active versus inactive; young versus old; under versus overweight. Children and adolescents, for example, may need to recharge their energy with snacks. Athletes often eat between meals just to keep up with their daily caloric needs. Some elderly people may not have an appetite for three large meals a day, so nibbling on smaller meals throughout the day may be a good option to keep them going. If you have questions about snacking for you, your children or aging parents, you might want to talk to a registered dietician.
Does Size Matter?
There are a few variables to consider when it comes to snacking. They include: portion control, nutritional value, timing and total daily calories.
1. Size of the snack
Many experts recommend a portion size of about 200 calories. Plan your snacks just like you (ideally) do you meals. If you shop for and pre-make your snacks everyday you will be more likely to stick to the 20 calorie portion size. Do not just open the fridge or pantry and start to graze from food containers. To help stick to the 200 calorie count, measure out the portion then sit down and enjoy the snack.
2. Nutritional value
According to Susan Bowerman, RD, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, look for a balance of carbohydrates, protein (about 10 grams) and fiber (5 grams) for a snack of about 200 calories. Here are some sample snacks to have ready:
Canned tuna on whole-wheat crackers
Cottage cheese-filled avocado
An apple and skim milk
Hard boiled egg plus 6 whole grain crackers
6-ounce container of low-fat fruit Greek yogurt
1 oz. of pistachios in the shell
String cheese plus a peach or nectarine
1/4 cup hummus plus 10 baby carrots
3. Timing of Snacks
Professionals recommend that you snack only when you are feeling hungry. If you are craving a snack due to stress or boredom, it will be better for your health if take a ten minute walk to energize your body and distract your mind.
4. Total caloric intake for the day
Balance an increase in snacks within the context of your total daily calories including your breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. Eating between meals will only induce weight gain if you regularly eat more calories than you need given your age, gender, weight, activity and goals. Check out what your ideal caloric intake is here. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/estimated-calorie-requirement
Share What Works for You
We want you to weigh in with your thoughts as well as your snack ideas and recipes. Where do you shop, what do you make and what foods are helping you on your health and fitness journey?
Yours in Health,