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The Snack Attack Equation: How to Snack Healthy to Prevent Overeating by Mark Hyman, MD

Eating an adequate amount of healthy fats helps curb the appetite, keeps us feeling full and satisfied and prevents overeating 

The Snack Attack Equation: How to Snack Healthy to Prevent Overeating by Mark Hyman, MD

YOU KNOW THE SCENARIO. It’s 3 p.m., healthy snacks are nowhere in sight, and the foods you have sworn off suddenly look like the most amazingly delicious treat that you deserve. You reason with yourself… “A couple of bites of salty chips, greasy fries, that candy bar, or that bubbly soda – what’s the harm, right? I’ve been good…” 

I know firsthand how this conversation with yourself goes and how we feel after a couple of bites. But there is plenty of harm done and here’s why. About 20 minutes after you indulge in junk food, your blood sugar crashes. Cravings for more sweet or salty foods skyrocket with an even stronger vengeance. Suddenly you feel tired and grumpy as your insulin increases. Before you know it, all self-control and good intentions dissipate. You feel physically uncomfortable yet still hungry. Mentally and emotionally, you become frustrated. 

It doesn’t have to be this way, and I’m here to help. 

Remember this equation to ward off these snack attacks: protein + fat + low-glycemic carbs = satisfaction 

Here’s why: 

Nourishes while satiating hunger and sustains you through the afternoon without another thought of food. 

Protein Foods to Help You Power Through Your Day: 

  • Lean meats 
  • Fish 
  • Poultry (no skin) 
  • Pure all-natural nut and seed butter 
  • Quinoa 
  • Amaranth 

Many people fear fat because the food industry and the media have demonized it. The fact is we need fat – healthy fat, that is. When we don’t eat it, we crave junk foods. When we do eat enough healthy fat, we feel full and satisfied. 

Healthy Fats Suggestions to Curb Your Appetite: 

  • Avocado 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 
  • Coconut 
  • Eggs 
  • Jerky 
  • Tahini 
  • Olives 

Another confusing message to consumers is that all carbs are bad. It is true that carbs such as high-glycemic, processed, flour-based snack foods are junky and harmful. However, low-glycemic, nutrient-rich carbs can help banish cravings. 

  • Craving-Curbing Carbs: 
  • Vegetables (Sweet potatoes, squash, peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, eggplant, cabbage, etc.) 
  • Fruits (Tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, berries, etc.) 
  • Non-gluten whole grains (Corn, rice, buckwheat, sorghum, etc.

Stick with these 3 rules for healthy snacking and you will win the afternoon snack wars: 

  1. Choose a protein-based snack that includes healthy fat and low-glycemic carbohydrates.
  2. Eat an afternoon snack 2 or 3 hours after your lunch. 
  3. Plan ahead and find portable, easy snacks you enjoy munching on. 


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