The quick answer: Snacking can be good or bad. If you eat healthy meals of real food you’ll snack less, and crave more wholesome snacks. That’s bad news for Food Inc.
America is learning how to eat—rediscovering food wisdom lost in the last century. I’m totally into this search, reading all I can. My food library is nearing 200 books. Currently I’m reading Darya Pino Rose’s book, Foodist, Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting.
I really believe this, that eating real food is the only path to your best weight and better health. So I guess I’m a “foodist.” Rose shared a great quote from Mike Pollan’s writing: “The most consistent predictor of weight gain and poor health is how much processed food we eat.” Here’s more wisdom from Rose’s book:
- Foodists don’t diet. Hunger will beat will power, sooner or later so dieting is hopeless. But do make permanent changes to your diet, away from processed factory foods and towards real food. By doing this you get enough to eat without fattening calories.
- Wisdom about will power: Studies show that people with the best will power use it infrequently. Sounds backwards, but they use their will power to form good habits, rather than doing daily battle with bad habits. So abandon factory food for good and make healthy eating your primary habit.
- Enjoy three meals each day but minimize snacking. Keep unhealthy snacks out of your home.
- The simplest rule: Eat more vegetables (and less sugar). The most neglected vegetables: legumes (beans, lentils) and roots (carrots, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes/yams).
- Enjoy hard cheeses. They’re rich in vitamin K-2, which protects against cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
- Learn “mindful eating.” Slow down and think about the food (and chew more).
- Exercise! Exercise makes you hungry, but for better food. Start by walking, with a goal of 10,000 daily steps. (The BW wears a pedometer.)
Snacks are the subject of the week. They’re typically the worst foods we eat but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you eat wholesome food at meal times, you’re less likely to snack, and more likely to enjoy healthy snacks. Here are highlights from past posts:
In Healthful Snacks we cited Mike Moss, author of Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, from a N. Y. Times article that described a meeting of Food Inc. titans. The addictive nature of factory snack foods via the deft but unhealthy combination of salt, sugar, and fat, was presented and they were likened to the tobacco companies and a call was made to change their ways. What did they do? They declined to make changes.
In The Joy of Snacking we proposed a fundamental change to snacking: Eat real food! We also listed ten healthy and affordable snacks.
In a post The Snack Plate we noted how a healthy breakfast of whole foods reduced the tendency to snack during the day—snack calories were reduced 81%. It was also a money saver as snacks are typically the most expensive but least nutritious food we eat. Like we said above, it doesn’t have to be that way—eating healthy meals of whole foods reduces snacking, and improves the quality of snacks we do eat.
Please comment: When we eat regular, healthy meals, we snack less and make better choices. You can find healthy store-bought snacks but ours are mostly homemade. The best snacks are minimally processed—whole food snacks are best; we draw the processing line at granola and trail mix. Please share your favorite snack ideas.