The Pro’s & Con’s of Snacking Part 2 of 3

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

Last week on the blog I discussed the evolution of snacking, where we are today and what the research says.  Today I would like to discuss the actual disadvantages and advantages, in general terms.

Disadvantages of Snacking

  • Weight Gain
  • Inconvenient (healthy snacking)
  • Constipation (unhealthy snacking)
  • Grazing
  • Dental Caries

Weight Gain

In plain simple terms, the more you eat the more calories you are putting in your body.  If you are eating more calories than your body is burning, you will gain weight.  Bottom line!  If you look back at the evolution of snacking, people were much more physically active on a day-to-day basis.  Children played outside and many parents had more physically demanding jobs compared to video games and desk jobs.  So called “snacks” between meals were easily burned off.

Inconvenient

In terms of “healthy snacking”, research has shown that some think it is inconvenient.  Those that already have difficulty finding time to prepare and cook main meals feel it is inconvenient to prepare healthy snacks compared to processed, shelf stable options. Planning snacks forces an individual to do extra grocery shopping, portion snacks, and spend time putting them together, and many would prefer to find snacks that are of the “grab & go” nature.

Constipation

Snacking on “unhealthy snacks”, such as frequent fatty, low-fiber snacks can increase your chances of becoming constipated.  Empty calorie snacks such as this are filled with fat and calories and are void of fiber.  Examples could be cheddar cheese cubes, deli meats, candy bars and chips.

Grazing

Defined as “eating small meals and/or snacks frequently instead of large meals infrequently” or “eat little and often”.  The thought behind is to keep energy up and blood sugar stable as a tactic to avoid overeating unhealthy food.  The problem is that the amount of food and the non-healthy options being chosen is not “little” and we have become a snack-obsessed society with a nation of “snackers”.

Dental Caries

The minute certain foods (sugars and starches) are placed in your mouth, bacteria makes the tooth enamel more acidic, and the acid starts the process that can lead to cavities. The worst culprits are what they call “fermentable carbohydrates”.   These start tooth decay and destroy teeth by increasing the pH in our mouths. Our mouths remain in that acidic state for about 20 minutes before returning to a neutral pH. The more we eat, the more frequent teeth are “attacked” and likely to decay. Examples of the biggest culprits include breads, crackers, bananas and cereals, as well as the more obvious: cookies, cakes, candy and soft drinks.

Advantages of Snacking

  • Increased Energy & Nutrient Intake
  • Appetite or Binge Control
  • Satisfaction for Small Appetites
  • Better Concentration

Increased Energy & Nutrients

A healthy snack made up of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats increases your energy levels for a longer period of time more than sugary snacks do. This is because sugar increases your blood sugar, which is followed by a crash, leaving you hungry and lethargic.   Include lean protein sources, good fats and fruits/vegetables will not only make a snack more nutrient dense, but will also keep you fuller because protein and fat gives you a feeling a satiety.

Appetite or Binge Control

Having a snack between meals can prevent you from becoming so hungry that you reach for unhealthy junk food. A healthy snack can keep your hunger at bay and allow you to stick to a moderate amount of food when you do eat your next main meal. Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels will also help with binge control.

Satisfaction for Small Appetites

Children, as well as some adults, love small foods!  For those little appetites that seem to prefer 6 small meals rather than 3 large ones can benefit greatly from healthy snacking as long as “snacks” don’t interfere with those meals that are providing the majority of nutrients to the diet.  Children should always come to the kitchen table a little hungry!

Better concentration

Adding healthy snacks between meals increases focus and performance as indicated by research, both at school and work. Children are able to comprehend and retain information presented in t he classroom at a higher rate when their bodies are fueled consistently (according to the American Dietetic Association). Adults may find that eating a small snack in the afternoon gets them through their tasks more quickly and efficiently.

In part 3, we will discuss some tips and recipes for the ideal snack!

In good health,

Jaime Windrow RD

© Jaime Windrow 2014

The Pro’s & Con’s of Snacking (Part 1 of 3)

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

This is topic I have written about on numerous occasions, and it deserves the attention! We have definitely become a snack-obsessed society and in my opinion this IS one of the many factors that are contributing to our nation of growing obesity numbers.   What is a snack?

Definition according to Merriam-Webster dictionary: “a small amount of food eaten between meals”

Evolution of snacking:

  • “Snacks” were created in the 1930s.  Food companies needed to provide affordable food and were only able to make that possible by using the cheapest ingredients.
  • The term “snacking” dates back to the 1960s.  It wasn’t a main focus of the day or an actual “activity”.  Snacking was a solution to hunger pangs, a brief rest between lunchtime and dinnertime.

Do You Have Coconut Oil In Your Cupboards?

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

Boy do I LOVE coconut oil! I am so happy so these gain more popularity over the years. You can use it for cooking numerous recipes, but it also serves a purpose in non-food ways too!  For example, I do not use body lotion, but rather keep a container of coconut oil in my shower and use it on my body last thing before getting out.  My skin as never been better!  I also use it as eye make-up remover and I mix it with sugar for a body scrub!

What are the benefits of coconut oil?

1.  Although it is a saturated fat, which is generally bad for cholesterol, it does not act like one in the body.

2. Coconut oil can help our bodies fight off viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Plus it can help fight off yeast, fungus and candida!

Hydration Before Run, Obstacle or Mud Events

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

I love that in this day and age, you don’t have to be a former college athlete to get into running events.  At any age you get into a new sport and be competitive, get fit and have fun!  From Color Runs and the Tough Mudder, to obstacle races like Spartan, there is something for everyone!

But there is one aspect that is not getting the attention it should with the newbies or even the intermediate racers: hydration.  As the snow is coming to a close (hopefully), the sun will be shining and training will be picking up.  Here are a few tips to making sure you are well hydrated before the big day.

Daily Basis Hydration

Convenient Snacks

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

Snacks are an important part of everyone’s healthy daily lifestyle. Whether you a child or adult, snacking is a great way to fill in the nutritional gaps between meals. I see so many toddlers and young children running around these days with processed grain-like snacks such as goldfish, bunnies, crackers, pretzels, cheerios rather than nutrient dense options.  Not only do these snacks provide very little nutrients for optimal health and development, they raise blood sugar and lead to dental caries.

“But they are convenient!”

Yes they are! Being a mom is hard, and our daily juggling act needs to rely on convenience sometimes.  I am going to share one of my favorite, on-the-go snacks that can replace some of those above options: freeze dried fruit or vegetables.

What are freeze dried fruits and vegetables?

Freeze-drying is a dehydration process typically used to preserve a perishable material and works by freezing it, and then reducing the surrounding pressure to allow the frozen water to sublimate directly.  In a nutshell, it basically means it takes all the moisture out.  The result?  A light and crispy piece of fruit very close in size to its original state.

Are they healthy?

Yes! During the freezing process, only a small amount of nutrients are lost, but most of the antioxidants are kept.  There are a few simple rules though when shopping:

  1. Turn over the package and look at the ingredients.  There should be no other ingredients but the actual fruit or vegetable.  Especially NO SUGAR added.
  2. Drinks lots of water.  Since all the water is taken out, you must drink water when eating.  These fruits an vegetables still have fiber and other nutrients that need water to digest!
  3. Opt for organic when possible :-)

My favorite brands are:

  • Nature’s All Food: Tons of fruits and vegetables to choose from!
  • Just Tomato’s:  They make everything from peas and corns to fruit salad and berries!  My daughter’s favorite is the Organic Just Peas.

In good health,

Jaime Windrow RD

© Jaime Windrow 2014

Are You Drinking While You Sweat?

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

I’m back in the Northeast again and it’s coooold!  While here, there is a local gym I go to get my sweat on, but one thing I noticed was that not many people were drinking anything!  Did you know that you still sweat in this cold even if you’re working out in the cold?  Here are a few tid-bits about training in the cold weather:

  1. Working out in the cold weather, such as running, still requires some source of hydration like water.  Your body still heats up and loses fluids even if you do not have the drips running down your face and body.

Avoiding Soy & Why

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

I hear so much these days about soy. What’s the deal?

In the United States, people rarely eat soybeans in their whole natural form, whether fresh or dried as they do over in the East.  When I refer to “soy from the east”, I am speaking of its whole food form such tempeh.   This is the soy that brings about all the “good” benefits that you’ve read about.

Unfortunately though, in the United States, soy-by products, or “soy from the west”, are giving soybeans a bad reputation, and it should.   These soy by-products are produced by processing soybeans with a solvent to remove all the oil (and possibly sold), to create soy protein concentrate that will further be processed to make either textured soy protein (TVP) or soy protein isolate (SPI).  These by-products cannot be compared to the whole form.  It would be like comparing fresh corn on the cob from your local farmer, to high fructose corn syrup!

How To Build A Rock Star Smoothie

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

Earlier this week I spoke about situations where you might need to add a smoothie into your diet.  This does not mean to go down to your local smoothie shop and gulp down any recipe filled with sugar, ice cream, chocolate and maybe the occasion fruit like a banana.  The goal of this smoothie is to fill a gap in your diet.  In other words, choose ingredients that are needed by your body for optimal health and that are lacking from your whole food meals and snacks. This might mean that you have to step out of the box and try some new things!

Here is my step-by-steo guide on how to build a rock star drink:

When To Drink Smoothies

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

These cold winters are the toughest months to eat with seasons, and when I look at what my clients are eating, I see a big drop in fruit and vegetable consumption that goes hand in hand with the temperatures outside.   Fruits loaded with juice and cold, crunchy salads are competing with those warm, rich dishes such as soups, stews and chili.   You might yourself having to make that extra effort to get in all the vital servings of fruits and vegetables and that can be exhausting! While I recommend to keep up the good work, there are situations where we just need to supplement with other options.  Some of those situations might include:

  • Availability of produce is low therefore consumption is low
  • Traveling
  • Children with food aversions or extreme “picky eating”
  • Weight gain

Availability of produce is low therefore consumption is low 

Check Out All My Recipes!

Written by Jaime Windrow, RD on . Posted in Nutrition Program

I was just scrolling through my blog here at COA and realized there is now a great library building up of recipes!  Have you checked them out?  If not, I decided to give an update of what we have and organize them into categories.  If there is a certain category you would like to see more of, let me know!

DRINKS:

 

BREAKFAST:

FUELS BEFORE A WORKOUT: