Dr. Bell's Blog

Snacking: Is It Good or Bad?

There can be much debate on whether or not it is a good idea to snack during the day.  This can be a complicated topic because, as you likely know, all snacks are not created equal.  It can be very difficult sometimes to know what is healthy to have, and when it may be a good time during the day to snack.  Let me give you a few ideas...

First off, snacking regularly during the day can provide many benefits.   It can help provide insulin control, give you extra energy, and avoid binge eating from being over hungry.  Where most get in trouble is either the quality of the food they snack on, or the time of the day they are snacking.  Try never to consume food within a minimum 1 hour before bedtime, preferably two.  This type of snacking will lead your body to simply store whatever you ate as fat cells.  Try simply to grab a handful of healthy nuts, a few slices of fruit, some carrots or other vegetables, or maybe even some organic cottage cheese.  These and many more will satisfy your hunger urge midday, maintain normal blood sugar levels, and help you remain on task with what you have to accomplish.

When is a good time to snack?  It is best to snack on something within 2-3 hours of your last meal (breakfast or lunch), which will mean you will have a snack 2-3 times per day.  It is fine to snack after dinner, if you eat early enough, and don't plan on going to sleep for a couple hours or so.  Evening snacks need to be free of any sugar.  High sugar fruits should be avoided at this time of the day.  Lastly, always try and drink at least 8 ounces of water (not coffee, soda, etc.) while you are having your snack.  This will provide further help in satisfying your hunger, and most of us can use to drink a little more water anyways.