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Thesnack is a food break made between the main meals. Snacking is not mandatory or essential, but it can be very useful in different situations. To better understand the art of snacking, let's see together when and why it can be beneficial to snack, how to compose a balanced snack, as well as some ideas to inspire you.

When to snack?

A snack can be taken in the morning between breakfast and dinner, in the afternoon between lunch and dinner, and in the evening after dinner. When there is a long period of time between meals, usually more than 5 hours, snacking can help prevent low energy, irritability or headaches.

They can also help hold between meals and prevent excessive hunger at the next meal, which can sometimes lead to overeating or less healthy food choices. So, when we have a craving, it can be interesting to satisfy it and thus calm our desires to either eat too much or eat badly.

Snacks can also be consumedbefore a workout to replenish energy andafter a workout to promote therecovery.

Why snack

Snacking can help maintain a more stable level of energy throughout the day and meet the increased needs of active people.

Snacks also allow food intake to be distributed optimally throughout the day in order to meet energy and nutrient needs without having to overload the main meals.

They can also help supplement meals and meet daily food needs.fruits, in vegetables or dairy products and/or substitutes, which are sometimes absent or under-represented during the main meals.

What foods to choose for a balanced snack?

A balanced snack includes nutritious, fresh and minimally or unprocessed foods.

In general, it is composed of a carbohydrate source combined with a protein source.

Carbohydrates provide energy quickly, while protein contributes to feelings of fullness and sustains over a longer period of time (eg until the next meal). The presence of fiber also contributes to the satiation provided by a snack.

For carbohydrates, remember to favor fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rich in fiber, and for proteins, favor low-fat dairy products and lean or vegetable proteins (eg:nuts, seeds, legumes). Finally, it is also best to limit the consumption of foods high in saturated fat, salt and refined sugars.

Some examples of balanced snacks

 

Here is a table that presents some ideas for balanced snacks combining a source of carbohydrates and a source of protein. Then, you are free to make new combinations according to your preferences and needs.

 

Sources of carbohydrates

Sources of protein

Fruit

Yogurt

Dried fruits

Nuts and/or seeds

Raw vegetables

Hummus

Slice of whole grain bread

Cheese

Muesli

soy milk

 

For an original idea of an easy-to-carry balanced snack, consider energy balls made from dried fruits and nuts, such asthose of Fit-Fit. These energy balls have a short and simple ingredient list, and are no added sugar. They combine a carbohydrate source in the form of dried fruit (eg:dates,figs) and a source of protein in the form of nuts or seeds (e.g. hazelnuts, walnuts, chia seeds), which also provide good polyunsaturated fats (e.g. omega-3s). Finally, dried fruits and nuts also contain fiber that contributes to satiation and can help regulate intestinal transit, lower cholesterol and better control blood sugar. And. They are so good!!!!!

If you're the type to pick up a sweet snack in the evening from the pantry, try to choose a snack that gives you a good source of carbohydrates in the afternoon. You will surely have less desire to go get some cookies or ice cream before going to sleep!

Now that you know more about snacks, their usefulness and how to compose them, it will be easier for you to integrate them into your daily life if you feel the need.

 

Article written by:

Marie-Noël Marsan, Nutritionist

 

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