In Defense of Snacks
Hi folks, it's Karen here. I'm a snacker, and I always have been. In high school, I remember thinking to myself, "How is anyone supposed to function for all these hours before lunch period?" It never seemed natural to me. To cope, I would stash granola bars in my locker so I'd have something to eat between classes. And as a working adult, I run into the same issue. I often have a snack before I get in the car to go home. My husband used to ask, "Why are you eating a snack now - we're gonna eat dinner at home?" My response was "It's gonna be at least another hour to two by the time I travel home and dinner is actually ready to eat. And I am hungry NOW." I think my husband learned to stop asking me that when he saw me "hangry" for the first time ;)
I have also been known to have a snack before going out to eat (I know this may sound crazy!) Going out to eat is an occasional and enjoyable experience for me. If I go out to eat feeling overly hungry, I'll be anxious to get food and unable to make a good decision about what to eat and how much to eat (and all bets are off if there is a long wait at the restaurant!). When the food finally does arrive, I'll eat quickly and not even enjoy it. So when I can take the "edge off" by having a small snack before I head out, it dramatically changes the whole experience for the better.
Some people are not snackers. Some people, like my husband, can eat three meals a day and be fine. No snacks needed. Everyone is different, but in my experience many people can benefit from strategic snacking. Unfortunately, a lot of folks seemed to get scared away from snacking because of the false messaging that often surrounds snacking:
"Snack foods are unhealthy."
"Snacking makes you gain weight."
"Snacking will ruin your appetite."
None of these statements are categorically true or false. As is often the case with nutrition, there is good deal of nuance (which we'll discuss in class this week). But I hope you'll use our topic this week to consider the possible benefits of snacking, and how it may be appropriate for your lifestyle.