Snacking is not a new phenomenon, afternoon tea, an old English tradition was invented to ward off hunger pains in the mid afternoon. It is believed that the ladies of the time were only able to eat very small amounts because of their whalebone corsets, which left them barely able to breathe let alone eat! Consequently, by mid afternoon they were literally fainting away. But now, scientists have found that the midafternoon slump is actually a true physiological event. At this time of day, the core body temperature plateaus and this can bring on sleepiness. This is also the time that cortisol levels drop, along with mood, energy, focus and motivation.
Well, thankfully we have thrown out our corsets and can snack anytime we want. The problem is, we often snack on the wrong things and as a consequence feel bad about it. Now that downer feeling might not just be due to concern for an expanding waistline. New research has determined a link between trans fats—found in fast food, fried foods, processed snacks and baked goods—and depression. The researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain have studied 12,000 people over six years and have found that eating trans fats increased depression risk by over 48%. In the same study the chance of getting depression was reduced by 35% while consuming olive oil. So, out with the trans fat loaded snacks and in with those containing monounsaturated fats, which are what is in olive oil and polyunsaturated fats like oils from nuts and seeds.
Making wise choices is the key to boosting energy and mood, while not consuming too many calories. As with breakfast and lunch, the best kind of snack is one that is packed with protein and good fats, which will give you sustained energy. Try to keep snacks around 100-150 calories, some great options are:
- Low fat string cheese
- Soy chips
- Kamut® agave cakes with a spoonful of peanut butter
- Carrots, celery with hummus
- Single serving container of cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit preserve
- Peanuts in the shell – they have no salt and take longer to eat!
- Instant oatmeal with low fat or skim milk
- Kale chips*
- Piece of fresh fruit with a spoonful of peanut or almond butter
- Handful of raw almonds or walnuts
- Sunflower seeds
* Make your own low calorie treat – Garlicky Kale Chips – only takes a few minutes and at 46 calories per serving it’s a no-brainer for wise snacking!
1 large bunch of kale, washed and dried
1tps teaspoon garlic powder
sea salt to taste
olive oil spray
Preheat over to 300 degrees F. Spray two large baking pans with the oil. Trim kale stems and tear leaves into 2-3 inch pieces. Arrange the kale on the baking sheets in one layer, spray with the oil and sprinkle with the garlic salt and sea salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy and turning light brown around the edges. Turn the kale over once while baking.
So, junk the junk and snack wisely to keep you going all day long and feeling good too!