Where do you stand on snacking? Some people swear by snacks to keep their metabolism fired and their bodies energised. Others say that snacking leads to weight gain so its better to avoid mid-meal nibbles. Me, I’m still trying to figure it out.
In recent months it dawned on me that the weight loss part of my fitness journey is over.
This is the first time I’ve actually written that thought down and wow, it feels good! I try not to worry about weights and numbers, but when the numbers are such an obvious indicator of progress, well, what’s the harm in clinging to them just a little bit. Like Mac at Get Fit Slowly, I’m a bit of a data junkie – I was a math major, after all.
What does this have to do with snacking?
Here is a sad but undeniably true fact about weight loss: when you lose weight, you need fewer Calories to maintain it.
I graphed this phenomenon in a recent post about Calorie expenditure.
Put another way, I now have 40 lbs less of ME to feed than I did 5 years ago (damn, it takes time to lose weight). So I decided that those extra Calories I no longer need would come out of my snack budget.
For the most part, it’s been good, particularly when it comes to work productivity. And I don’t have that panicky feeling when I go out that I’m not going to be near a snack in case I start to get hungry (it helps that I still carry my emergency nuts – security in a box). I also enjoy my main meals more.
Of course, I can do all this because I’m on a schedule and I know how to plan my meals so that there aren’t any major no-eating gaps in the day. But sometimes things come up, like when a couple who are known for their spectacular cooking invites you over for dinner. Only the timing is about 4 hours after you typically eat. In these cases, there’s no sense in going hungry, because if I did, I’d scarf the meal in a hunger-induced food orgy, barely tasting a thing, and probably overeating on top of that. No, a snack is definitely called for.
This is where I found myself yesterday evening when Rory and Nina invited us over for Sri Lankan food. I knew I was going to need something to tie me get me through until dinner, but I was totally lost as to what. I definitely did not want to ruin my meal, but I also didn’t want to show up starving.
So I settled on three things: orange, carrot and avocado.
This was good, though I can’t say it was satisfying. The thing about snacks is they tend to whet my appetite for something more. Sometimes I wonder if I should just snack on something more substantial and eat less at dinner. But this is hard in eating-out situations when I’m given a plate of food and would feel rude not finishing it.
Do I think about this stuff way too much or what?
Real Simple has some ideas for healty pre-dinner snacks (“dinner’s at eight, but you just can’t wait” – I can relate!).
Are you a snacker? What do you eat to tide you over?
Diary for Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Went for a short but refreshing swim first thing this morning. Swam about 600 meters in 20 minutes. Had a lane to myself until Tim showed up, probably the only person I know who I don’t mind sharing a lane with. Not that I’m Queen Bitch if someone else gets in my lane, it’s just that it’s not as nice. On the plus side, if the person I’m sharing with happens to be really fast, it often motivates me to push the envelope a bit. But not this morning. This morning was slow and easy. I missed the outdoor pool a bit – if I had been swimming outside I would have been able to watch the sun come up.
Bircher Muesli with Bananas and Yogurt
I have a bag of “chopped apricots” that I’m trying to get rid of. If you’re ever in the store looking for apricots and you see the pre-chopped ones and think to yourself “hey, that’ll save me time,” think again. While they may save you time, they also save you flavor! These chopped apricots are virtually tasteless compared to the juicy whole unsulphured apricots I got from Fresh and Wild. Never again.
Nevertheless, I hate wasting food. So here you have it:
1 cup oats
10g chopped apricots
10g flax seeds
1 apple, graded
1 lemon wedge, juiced
Two delightful laps around the park.
Leftover sweet potato and black bean chili with a big salad and a small piece of corn on the cob
(The corn was a last minute decision and I ate it too fast to get a photo!)
Lunch made me happy. The sweet potato and black bean chili was even better the next day. I continued to look for the perfect accompanyment to balance its intense flavors. I tried avocado, but its flavor got lost in the chili so I ended up removing it and putting it on my salad. Then I tried a little bit of greek yogurt – superb! The corn was also a good move.
Orange slices, carrots and avocado
The carrot/avocado combo may seem strange, but I encourage you to try it. The avo is a great dip for carrots!
Indian food at Rory and Nina’s
Forgive the rubishy pictures, but when I got to Nina’s and took out my camera, I realized that I forgot to replace the battery after I charged it! Sigh. So this wonderful meal was delegated to the cell phone.
Eggplant and paneer in a coconut gravy
Shredded carrot sauteed with onion and chili
Rice with cashew nuts
Two bottles of San Miguel
Raspberries, jackfruit and ice cream for dessert
Everything was delicious, but the carrots were my favorite. So simple.
The jackfruit was a new experience. It had an interesting smell that was a little tough to get over. But the taste was nice, kind of like a mild pineapple.