Snack Right – Is Snacking Good or Bad?
by Finessa Rassel, ATC
New year, new me. Many people approach the new year with this mentality, and running with this frame of thought commonly motivates resolutions that include diet changes. This time of year especially, snacking gets a bad rap and may seem like a contradictory practice on a health journey. However, in actuality, snacking can be beneficial to improving your overall nutrition and therefore improving your productivity and performance in the workplace.
- • Snacking provides opportunity to supply more nutrients into your diet
- • Associated with improvement in cardiovascular health markers (cholesterol and blood pressure)
- • Provides a boost of energy in between meals when blood sugar drops
- • Increases feeling of fullness which can prevent binge eating behaviors during meals
Of course, these benefits are dependent on what you choose for a snack and how much you consume. Hunger goes beyond just a physical sensation and is influenced by factors such as your emotions, social environment, location, etc. Ask yourself why you are hungry… “am I tired or stressed?” and also pay attention to your feeling of fullness as you eat. A snack should make you feel satisfied, but not completely interfere with your next meal!
TIMING MAKES A DIFFERENCE
For day shift industrial athletes:
Did you know your circadian rhythm (your internal biological clock) not only influences your sleep ycle, but also your metabolism? Your ability to regulate your blood sugar levels decreases naturally at night, so try to limit snacking right before bedtime.
For night shift industrial athletes:
Do you ever feel really tired after eating a big meal? This is a common experience called “postprandial fatigue.” As the body’s processes naturally slow at night, it was found that frequent snacking as opposed to eating a large meal may decrease tiredness, increase energy, and decrease symptoms like headaches and dizziness often reported to be experienced with night shift workers.
As previously mentioned, food/eating/snacking has a psychological component to it, so you should not completely restrict yourself, or tell yourself that you can’t have one particular food. There is room for everything in moderation. However, the workplace vending machines and cafeteria tend to carry snacks that are ultra-processed and low in nutritional value. Try to plan ahead to bring or choose more nutrient-dense substitutes.
If you love to snack on candies with peanut butter and chocolate, perhaps try yogurt (high in protein and a source of calcium and probiotics) with nuts (another source of protein and packed with vitamins) and dark chocolate (source of antioxidants and minerals such as iron and magnesium).
Finessa Rassel, ATC, LAT || Finessa is a Certified Athletic Trainer in Reno, NV. She grew up in Missouri and attended college at Truman State University. She obtained her Master’s in Athletic Training and is pursuing further education in dietetics. She likes to spend her free time playing tennis, traveling, and hanging out with her friends.
Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!