The theme for the August BSG Challenge is smart snacking. Snacking seems so simple. If you're hungry, eat! And let's be honest, we all snack. But do we all snack smart? "Snack help keep your energy up and help you focus on tasks when you're running low on fuel," says Julie Joiner registered dietitian for Aramark. "But there is a right-and wrong-time for snacking. Ask yourself, "Am I eating out of boredom or does my body actually need that little bit of extra fuel?" Do you snack? If so, do you think you are a smart snacker? When, what and how (i.e. mindful eating) do you snack?
I have struggled many times in the past with snacking, usually because I would snack mindlessly or emotionally without really being hungry - either due to boredom or in social gatherings. Ideally, I would rather not snack at all, because when I do, I find myself wanting to eat even more. When I keep myself busy and am not around food, I rarely think of it at all and really have no need to snack. But if I am at home, it's a totally different story! All the years that I worked, the worst time for me was before and after dinner, when I had idle time. During the teaching day, I'd just be too busy to snack. Now that I've been retired for the past six years, I find the middle of the afternoon is my worst time, when I am usually sitting in the house reading or doing something on the computer. Again, if I'm busy, I don't have the problem. In the past six months of this pandemic though, I've been home so much that snacking has become a big challenge again! But, let's face it, I do get hungry between meals or after dinner and like to eat tasty snacks. I just need to learn to control the portion size!
My dh and I had been pretty strict on a low carb lifestyle (lazy keto - just limiting carbs but not counting them) for over a year, but awhile ago, he started buying carb snacks at the store again (things like cookies, chocolate, or pretzels,) and I would weaken and eat some. I really don't stay off low carb for long though, because my body just does not do well with sugar or grains - I have digestive issues. I feel so much better when I stay away from both. So, I'd have to say that I have learned to at least limit the amounts of carb snacks I eat. If I crave something, I have a small portion and then get back to eliminating it again.
Snacking on keto CAN get boring after awhile, because I do get tired of the same old things day after day - snacks like nuts, cheese, deli meat roll ups, hard boiled or deviled eggs, and veggies and dip. You have to watch it with nuts especially, since it's easy to overdo it with calories. I missed the crunch of salty snacks, so I found a great way to make crackers just with thin cheese baked in the oven with everything bagel spice sprinkled on top. A lot of people on keto eat fat bombs for a dessert, but I when I made a few recipes when we first started the diet, my dh and I just weren't too excited about them. Also, I made a couple sugar free baked goods recipes, but we didn't care for them either. Same with low carb ice cream - I'd much rather have a small portion of the real thing once in a great while for a treat. Usually after dinner, if I'm hungry for something sweet, I try to stick with some berries and SF whipped cream or a square or two of dark chocolate. That usually satisfies me.
I'm always looking for new recipes for meals, so I thought maybe I need to try some new snack recipes for something different. Here are a few of the names of recipes I found from the Dirty Lazy Keto Cookbook, (which I checked out of the library) that look good to me. Since we don't go to parties anymore, I figured...why not make some of these for us at home?
Dragon Tail Jalapeno Poppahs
Stuffed Party Shrooms
Buffalo Bills Chicken Dip
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Nuts
After Dinner Parfait
Yellow Snow Sorbet
Mahalo Coconut Macaroons
Just like anything in life, you need to know what works for you. The key to smart snacking for me is to stop and think if I am really hungry, and if I am, what can I have that will satisfy me with a small portion size. The thing I like about low carb/keto snacks is that the fat makes it more filling. High carb snacks end up being addicting to me and I want more.