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Smart Snacking




It's 4:00 pm - lunch is long gone, dinner is far off, and the mid-day slump is kicking in. Do I hit the vending machine for those chocolate covered somethings... or perhaps I'll walk myself to the nearest Starbucks for my mid-day caffeine kick? Hmmmm... decisions, decisions.

According to market research, half (50%) of the times we're eating throughout our day revolve around snacks, from early-mornin' nibbles to late-night noshing. 

What's more, our snack choices are often made when blood sugar is low, and this results in a snack choice that is high in calories and low in nutrition. Let's talk about how we might change that!



We learned in the blog post titled Calorie Balance that one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. We also learned that maintaining a healthy weight requires balancing our calorie intake with our calorie output. 

With mindless snacking often happening, we can throw that balance off easily (and potentially gain weight). 

For example:

Say I'm doing a solid job at maintaining my calorie balance during my usual meal times, and so I decide I can reward myself with a mid-day Starbucks run. I consume an Almond Croissant and a Grande 2% Latte. Let's take a peek at the nutritional contents... 

With my snack choice, I've banked 570 calories, 30 grams of fat and 32 grams of sugar. If I do this everyday for a week, that's an intake of 3,990 calories; and that's just during snack time. 



If I rework my previous snack choice to something like an Evolution Fresh Greek Yogurt and Espresso Macchiato, I'll save myself 320 calories, 27 grams of fat and 9 grams of sugar. I'll also gain 1 gram of fiber and increase my fruit intake. If I do this everyday for a week, I'll bank just 1,750 calories, compared to 3,990. 

Snacking can fit into a very nutritional and calorie-saving eating plan, the trick is to enjoy a variety of colors as well as a blend of protein, complex carbs and quality fats within your snacks. 

  • Plan - schedule and plan your snacks just as you do your main meals. Once habitual, you may notice a shift in energy and feeling less hungry throughout the rest of the day.
  • Portion - calorie-wise, snacks should be about half the amount of calories of your main meal. So, if you eat a 500 calorie breakfast and lunch, aim for a 250-300 calorie snack.
  • Peak - focus on quality in your snacks, with a satisfying combination of protein, complex carbohydrates and happy fats - this will keep your blood sugar levels more stable.  Check out these snack ideas.



Did you know? The Embarcadero YMCA offers one-on-one nutrition sessions to help you up your healthy eating game. The Eat Well, Live Well Program is a 3-week nutrition program that can help you set realistic healthy eating goals and widen your path to wellness. Join us!


A comment from the author:  

I get many questions related to healthy eating and physical activity as a result of my role at the Y. The information I share is a blend of research- and evidence-based resources as well as my own take on how people absorb information. I often link out to the resources where further information can be read and do my best to credit those who wrote something before me with links or 'cred'. 

Have questions? Send me a message. I'd love to hear from you!