How do you feel about snacking? Do you have any thoughts about eating between your meals?
I have noticed some of my clients struggling with deciding what to eat, particularly snacking between meals. They acknowledge that snacking is scary if it goes against their “food rules” about eating at specific times, even if they notice feeling hungry.
Snacking is very important in eating disorder recovery and learning to be an intuitive, flexible eater. Eating at regular intervals (every 3-4 hours) helps you to go from one meal to the next, without becoming overly famished. This in turn can help prevent eating beyond fullness at the next meal or snack. It also helps maintain your blood sugar levels, which can help us function at our best.
How will I know what to eat for a snack?
I usually recommend planning a snack with at least two different foods groups. This ensures a balance of nutrients, is generally more satisfying, and helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time. For example, consider pairing a protein food and a carbohydrate food such as a slice of cheese and a piece of fruit, or a bowl of cereal and milk.
Of course, each person has their own unique nutritional needs so these are just general guidelines. There are many factors to consider when deciding on WHAT and HOW MUCH of a snack to eat. Some factors to consider include:
- Where you are in your recovery and your individual energy requirements
- Your overall levels of hunger and fullness
- Your physical activity levels
- How long a time span between your snack and the NEXT meal!
Here are some suggestions as a place to start when snacking. Let us know which snacks you are enjoying!!
- Hummus and crackers or pretzels
- Tortilla or pita chips with hummus or guacamole***
- Bistro Starbucks box: hard-boiled egg, cheese, pita, grapes
- Spiced Crunchy chickpeas***
- Apple or banana with peanut or almond butter
- Ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Greek yogurt with granola
- Frozen yogurt with fruit and/or nuts
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Date stuffed with brie cheese (or any cheese!)
- Bar: homemade, or Kind, Luna, Lara, Cliff
- Pita bread with turkey and/or cheese
- Bread with lean meat (roast beef, turkey, chicken, tuna)
- Almonds or peanuts
- Turkey or roast beef roll-ups with cheese inside
- Mini bagel with lox and cream cheese
- Granola or granola bar with milk***
- Peanut butter sandwich with milk
- Edamame in shells
- Vegetables and dip
SPECIAL NOTE — Diana Ushay (Our newest Dietitian at Erica Leon Nutrition) and I have teamed up to write a Cookbook and Recipes for Eating Disorder Recovery and the snack items above noted with the *** are all in this new cookbook. Watch for more information when the Cookbook is ready to purchase.
I am a big believer in journaling and using a planner to track what you are eating and how you are feeling. You can keep track of not only your food and feelings with my Intuitive Eating Wellness Planner and Journal and it also includes pages to help you track your health!
The journal is only $37 and includes several video lessons to help you develop this habit which can help you create even more habits so you can achieve your goals – your nutrition goals, food goals, your health goals and goals that matter to you. Grab your journal now!
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
Download our Free Intuitive Eating Guide and get off that Diet Roller Coaster for good!