You’ve probably noticed that if you go too long without eating your mental clarity fades and you become physically tired. Your will power also plummets leaving you vulnerable to too much sugar, refined foods, and caffeine. In order to keep you on track with healthy eating, and to keep your energy up, we recommend that you go no longer than 4 hours without eating.
Notice that our snack suggestions are a balance of natural, whole food carbohydrates (like whole grains, vegetables and fruit), protein, fat and fibre.
It is important to avoid eating refined carbohydrate snacks such as cereal, crackers, bread, or cookies as these carbohydrates will trigger the release of insulin, a fat storing hormone. This is because all carbohydrates turn to glucose (blood sugar) and those that digest too quickly give your body a sugar shock. Insulin is released to put this extra sugar in storage (potentially fat) and the energy that you would expect from these snacks is therefore short-lived. Once insulin has done its job you are left with low blood sugars and cravings for more. More carbohydrates, more sugar, it is a vicious cycle.
Protein and fat slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and therefore reduces the chance of spiking your blood sugars and triggering an insulin response. Protein also stimulates the release of Peptide YY from the gut, a natural appetite suppressant. Eating the right type and amount of fat also helps you feel full and satisfied.
Here are some satisfying and nutrient-dense snack suggestions.
- Yogurt (not zero fat). Plain yogurt is best and you can add your own fruit, nuts, seeds and/or honey.
- Small handful of raw nuts and/or seeds and an apple or a pear
- A small banana or an apple and natural peanut butter
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- Small handful of apricots, prunes, or an Ipanama Banana Brownie (soon to be available on our website) and a small handful of raw nuts and/or seeds
- Hard boiled egg(s) and fruit
- Raw vegetables and hummus
- Ryvita wholegrain crackers and tuna
- A thumb size piece of hard cheese and fruit
- Celery and nut butter
And don’t forget to look at what you are drinking. Water is your best resource although caffeine in moderation is fine. Make sure your caffeine intake is not causing you to miss out on the nutrients that food provides. And too much caffeine puts stress on your adrenal glands as it triggers the release of adrenaline (energy from the fight or flight stress response). Eventually the adrenal glands can become exhausted setting you up for less energy in the future.
Freshly squeezed fruit juice is fine as long as it is a small amount. All other artificially flavoured, sweetened and caffeinated beverages are not healthy and should be avoided.