Eat Smart

Snack away! Health eating habits boosts your metabolism

by Emily Borgeest, blogger

It’s getting late in the day; you skipped breakfast, had a quick lunch on the go, and now all that’s on your mind is dinner. You’re trying to eat healthy, maybe even lose a few pounds, and in your mind you’re planning out the perfect dinner. But after a day of skimping out on food, you’re ravenous.

Not eating all day causes you to overeat at dinner, and to eat too quickly. Breaking these bad eating habits is important if you wish to achieve optimal health and maintain a healthy weight.

Eating right isn’t just about what you eat but it is how you eat as well. Poor habits, even if you’re eating what’s considered healthy food, will not benefit you and will most likely negatively affect you. Habits can be anything from snacking before dinner, eating on the run, skipping meals, eating in front of the television, etc. All of these habits can lead to weight gain and poor digestion.

These habits can easily be broken with careful planning. To start, don’t skip meals. It is important to make time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whether you’re in class, at the library, in a cafe or at home, you must find time sit down and eat your meals. According to Mary Taylor, a trained chef and coauthor of What Are You Hungry For?: Women, Food, and Spirituality, it is important to engage your senses, slow down, and eat a proper meal. Taylor points out that many people tend to ignore the savory aspects of food. She recommends paying attention to your senses instead of just shoveling down food.

Slowing down when eating will naturally cause you to pay attention to how much food you are consuming. Mary Taylor writes,  “Neither carbs nor fats are to blame for America’s obesity problem. The problem is volume. When we pay no attention to how much we’re eating, we eat too much.” When eating slowly, and paying attention to what you are eating, you are less likely to overeat. You will hear your body tell you that you’re full.

Snacking is often seen as a bad habit, but in reality, healthy snacking is an important component of good eating habits and can lead to a quicker metabolism. Snacks should be small, around 200 calories, and healthy. To keep your body out of starvation mode and revved up, you should eat about every three hours. Some good, on-the-go snacks are apples, unsalted nuts, granola bars, trail mix or cut up veggies or fruit. I find a mid-afternoon snack to be the most important. Your body’s metabolism slows down as the day progresses, so having a mid-afternoon snack will make you less ravenous at dinner time, causing you to eat less at dinner.