Surviving the Weekday: One Snack at a Time
At about 3 o’clock on any given weekday afternoon, what’s going on in your body? If you’re like many, there may be a little rumble in the tummy, a bit of faded mental focus. That’s just your brain giving you a gentle nudge, a reminder, that your blood sugar is dropping and it wants you to do something about it.
Learn how remembering to #HaveAPlant can turn your afternoon energy slump to an afternoon surge with Big Y Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Carrie Taylor.
What is it that your brain wants you to do? Eat a snack that will bring your blood sugar back to a happy, cozy level so it can focus on other things. Carbohydrate-rich foods will do this the quickest and fruits and vegetables just so happen to be stellar options.
Fruits and vegetables are snack-time-superstars. They deliver the carbohydrates your brain needs paired with the awesomeness of vitamins, minerals, fiber, water and antioxidant-acting plant compounds called phytochemicals.
The natural sugar and starch found in fruits and vegetables will meet your brain’s snack-time needs immediately. When included in your daily intake on a regular basis, the additional nourishing compounds found in fruits and vegetables will help keep your body healthy.
Make the most out of your mid-day snacking and #HaveAPlant (and more!) with these tips:
Tip #1- Feed Your Brain
• Lead with color: Which fruit and/or vegetable sounds tastiest? Which color of the rainbow haven’t you eaten yet today?
For example, if you haven’t had anything red or orange, pair up sliced strawberries with carrot sticks. The crunch of the carrot and the sweetness of the strawberries will take your mouth and taste buds on an adventure.
Tip #2- Keep the Fuel Going
• Protein helps slow down digestion. This means protein creates a slower burn of the carbohydrates you eat to prevent having erratic peaks and valleys of energy. Simple solution: pair fruit and vegetables with protein-rich foods.
For example, add your strawberries to Greek yogurt and dip your carrot sticks in hummus. The protein in both will help maintain your blood sugar better than if you ate them alone.
Tip #3- Sprinkle with Fat
• Fat enhances flavor. It is also essential for hormones, temperature control and insulation while aiding in the absorption of vitamins likes A, D, E and K. Invite fat to your snacks in a mindful way so calories stay in check.
For example, sprinkle hummus with pumpkin seeds and Greek yogurt with chopped walnuts. This little bit of added fat will help maintain your blood sugar and create a greater sense of fullness in your belly.
Fruits and vegetables as snacks will help you work toward meeting daily Food Group goals, maintain blood sugar and displace higher calorie, high-sugar treats. When you #HaveAPlant at snack time, you’ll not only survive your week days, you’ll thrive in the weeks ahead.