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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Snack Attack

An apple a day?

This is a reprint of one of my popular blogs. Fits in nicely with week 4 of our new year. In other words, fitness and nutrition related New Year's resolutions should still be going strong! This will help you plan your meals...

Let me just start by saying:  I don’t believe in snacking.  Snacking allows for a consistent release of insulin at regular intervals in response to each meal; regardless of the meal size.  Insulin must then modulate the blood sugar response with each of those meals. Insulin is a fat storing hormone and whatever calories from a meal are not utilized right away, will be stored as fat.
While some people can experience a drop in blood sugar that can drive them to crave carbohydrates/sugar if they go too long without eating, I believe that if your meals are properly balanced, you can eat every 4 to 6 hours without feeling “starved.”  Eating every 4 to 6 hours prevents repeated insulin responses which can lead to
fat storing rather than fat burning. 

While the conventional wisdom recommends 5-6 small meals per day, approx. every 3 hours (essentially snacking), this doesn’t allow the body to really “dip” into its fat stores for energy.  The body eventually attenuates (gets used to) that steady flow of calories and doesn’t respond by burning more fat.  Furthermore, the belief that digestion itself causes more of a thermogenic (heat producing) effect if one is eating every 3-4 hours, is a theory that isn’t too well supported by clinical studies and does not necessarily equate to more overall calories being burned.

That said, it is important to realize that everyone is different. Learn what works best for YOUR body. If snacking helps you keep your blood sugar from crashing, keeps your cravings under control and provides you with necessary energy for your workouts and daily activities, then so be it.  Here are some great snack choices to keep it healthy. Try to limit it to one snack per day IF you need it.

Celery with almond, cashew, or other nut butter (alternatives to peanut butter which many people are sensitive to without even knowing it.)

Apple with almonds (about 10-12.) Apples provide fiber, apple pectin, carbohydrates, and many phyto-nutrients while almonds balance out the nutrient profile adding fat and protein.

Coconut yogurt and protein powder.  Mix a cup of coconut yogurt (a great non-dairy alternative for those sensitive to dairy) with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder. Makes a great “pudding snack pack.”

Berries and string cheese.  One part-skim string cheese stick plus a half a cup of your favorite berries=balance.

3 slices of turkey (look for organic, hormone and anti-biotic free choices) and have with red or purple grapes.

Cottage cheese with a half cup of berries….maybe add some cinnamon or even a drop or two of vanilla extract.

Apple sprinkled with cinnamon and baked-fill with ricotta or cottage cheese for fat and protein.

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at© 2011 Jinifit, Inc.

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