Truth be told, I was never much of a fan of snacking. I don’t have natural self-control or discipline when it comes to food. I was a teeny tiny little fairy waif growing up. I exercised a ton, I was always hungry, and I ate whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased.
In my mid-twenties all of that changed, when, seemingly overnight, I put on enough weight that my cholesterol skyrocketed and I could not zip up my Banana Republic flat front pants. Ever since then I’ve been experimenting, trying to figure out which foods make me feel healthy and well without feeling whacko and deprived around food. It’s a constant work in progress since we are constantly evolving (read: aging) human beings.
Snacking never made sense to me until I worked with a nutritionist a few years ago. Until then, I didn’t plan for it. So I either ate mindlessly and — whoopsie! — the whole bag of pretzels was gone. Or I tried to be austere but those baby carrots just didn’t satiate me. I really still wanted a Frappucino.
This very specific bit of advice I got from my nutritionist colleague, Karyn Duggan, turned it around for me — are you ready? It’s very simple:
“The ideal snack (like any healthy meal) consists of lean protein, healthy fat, and fiber-rich carbohydrate.”
Bam. That’s it. You simply have to remember the acronym, P, F, C and you will compose a healthy, satiating snack. In a blog post that I worked on with Duggan for One Medical Group, she explains why:
“When you eat a snack with each of these components–P, F, and C–your body makes use of each appropriately, slowly converting small amounts of the food into sugar to give you the energy you need. Conversely, in the absence of PFC your body tends to convert the food to sugar more rapidly. As this sugar surges into your bloodstream, it triggers the release of insulin from your pancreas, which in turn causes your sugar level to crash precipitously shortly thereafter. These swings in blood sugar are exactly what you’re trying to avoid.”
Here are some of my favorite P, F, C snacks. Keep in mind that whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are all considered complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates. So, thumbs up on those:
Dates with Goat Cheese & Pecans
Yogurt with Berries & Nuts
Lemony Hummus with Cucumbers on Whole Wheat Toast
Farmer’s Cheese and Fig Tartine
Choco-Banana Almond Butter Smoothie
Cashew Chia Pudding with Berries
Chili Avocado Toast
The number of combos are endless. Duggan has a list of her favorite snacks over on the One Medical Group blog.
Happy snacking! And please share your favorite snack combos in the comments below.