By: Nikki Nies
It’s become more common and socially acceptable to deviate from the mainstream three meals of debates. There are even debates on whether one should eat five “snacks” throughout the day instead of over sized portions of the common three meals. While the debaters figure it out for us, I’m going to zero in on snacking today. You know there’s a concept of “bad” snacking, right? I hope I’m not introducing a foreign concept today.
This blog post came about as I was at school the other day, passing the vending machine. For those that don’t know, I carry food with me everywhere I go. I’m not talking about a carrot, but full on meals. I like to defend my load of food as being prepared and boy has those meals helped me get through my current dietetic internship and master’s program. I digress. Walking past the vending machine, I asked myself, what if God forbid I forgot to back food with me and had to resort to vending machine food? I went through the vending machine options and I really couldn’t find any foods that I saw “worth” the cost. The healthiest snack might have been pretzels, yet how long would that sustain me? Not very long!
With that said. if you’re still with me, I don’t recommend or endorse vending machines. Those prcocessed treats may have to be used in the dire need of emergencies, but not for day to day energy needs! Please don’t resort to those types of foods as many are filled with empty calories, full of sugar, sodium and fat! Who needs that?!
Bad snacking can become a vicious cycle of overeating oversized portions, with many Americans easily eating 600 calories from snacks alone. As you know, too much unhealthy foods can lead to inflammation, oxidative stress, elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which can directly impact one’s weight and development of heart disease.
Continuous eating also can contribute to the development of dental caries. With increased exposure to food, the enamel has more opportunities to produce damaging acids. One should be espeically careful with sticky foods or those that leave particles behind (i.e. dried fruit, granola and/or crackers). If you’re not sure about the foods you’re eating, when in doubt, use the travel toothbrush you have handy!
Be honest, do those processed leave you feeling ready to tackle the next task? I doubt it! Snacks on the go are a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your day! Yes, keeping healthier snacks on hand does require some planning, but investing in your health is a facet of our lives we should all aspire to do.