Rethinking Your “Healthy” Snacks

Athletes frequently gravitate towards fruits and vegetables.  They can be a healthy alternative to much of the prepackaged snacks that are readily available.  Packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, these are an amazing option to fill our stomachs, improve our health and provide the fuel that we need for our bodies to function.

In our quest to improve health, we do make some small oversights. We may even make large oversights.  We supplement foods with our favorite condiment to enhance the flavor, add a bit of protein to improve the texture and consistency of what we are eating.  Be cautious with this supplementation.  It is easy to add these on without realizing the astounding amount of calories that are added onto our daily caloric intake.  

Let’s consider several of the more common additions.  Peanut butter adds nearly 200 calories for just 2 tbsps. Dressings can quickly add 100 calories. An extra banana or scoop of protein in your smoothie can tack on an additional 100-150 calories.  Without even realizing, you can easily and quickly overindulge and increase your desired caloric intake by a significant amount.  An apple with some peanut butter seems like a perfectly healthy snack, but, as pointed out to me by a friend, it is even easier to increase your caloric intake once the apple runs out and you then begin eating peanut butter by the spoonful!

How do you battle this over indulgence?  Separate the amount that you intend on eating from the container.  Get your scoop of peanut butter in a bowl, get your dressing on the side or take the chips you plan on eating out of the bag and put the bag away.  It sounds simple and is not a fail proof but it adds an additional step into the overindulgence outcome.

Ultimately it comes down to making conscious decisions to make consuming the additional calories one step further from happening.

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