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A snack is a portion of food, often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged snack foods and other processed foods, as well as items made from fresh ingredients at home.

Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home. Often cold cuts, fruit, leftovers, nuts, sandwiches, and the like are used as snacks. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. Processed snack foods, as one form of convenience food, are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips).

Beverages, such as coffee, are not generally considered snacks though they may be consumed along with or in lieu of snack foods.

A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a midnight snack.

Don’t Snooze In Your Cubicle: Here Are Four Ways To Snack For Higher Energy

It’s mid-January and the days are getting shorter and colder. While some people are invigorated by the brisk weather, others (like me) are ready for hibernation, until the sun comes out again in spring.

Here are four strategies to keep your energy levels high throughout the day:

  1. Replace your afternoon coffee break with a yogurt and cheese break. BNET Research Center states that the amino acid, tyrosine, present in yogurt and cheese, "converts into the feel-good chemicals dopamine and adrenaline and can energize you as quickly as a cup of coffee." They suggest snacking on 8 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt or 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese melted on bread.
  2. Snack on some water. "If you’re dehydrated, you can’t get nutrients from the foods you eat to the cells in your body, and you’re going to feel tired," says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, director of the Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia Therapies in Annapolis, Maryland in Parents Magazine. So, drink enough water throughout the day to make sure you are making the most of the nutrients in the foods you eat. If you’re used to drinking a soda to keep you going in the afternoon, try seltzer or carbonated water for some fizz that’s more hydrating and won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
  3. Fruit has fiber, so eat fruit. Apples and bananas contain enough fiber to ensure that their sugars are absorbed more slowly and evenly – thereby preventing a sugar high and crash. Try an apple drizzled with honey for a good fiber and sugar match. You will get a quick boost from the sweet honey, but it will be absorbed slowly due to the apple’s fiber. Sweet!
  4. Toast and peanut butter. Personally, I like an English muffin and all-natural almond butter, but peanut butter is tasty, and healthy in small doses. The toast provides a satisfying crunch and the nut-butter fills you up with protein and flavor.

Whatever you snack on, the main goal for maintaining energy is to avoid drastic dips and spikes in your blood sugar level. So, choose a carbohydrate-based snack (our bodies’ main source of food) mixed with a little protein or fat to regulate the release of sugar into your system.

Quick Summary – Snacks To Maintain High Energy:

  • 8 ounces of plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese melted on bread
  • drink enough seltzer, carbonated, or still water
  • banana
  • apple drizzled with honey
  • toast with peanut butter
  • toast with almond butter

Enjoy, and SNACK ON!

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