Speaking on behalf of all women, I'm sure many of you have an appetite for certain foods at certain times of the month. The more we try to put off having these foods, the more we tend to overindulge on them when we let our attacks take the best of us.

Our prime targets are foods high in fat, sugar like cakes/biscuits/muffins and general convenience foods like packet potato chips etc. The best way not to succumb to these is to be like a good Girl Scout and Prepare. The key is to snack smarter and you'll overcome any sneaky snack attacks.


Take Notice
Snack attacks usually occur as a result of stress, mood changes or the pace of your current lifestyle. The next time you feel an attack coming on, take note of what time of day, time of the month or what situation you're in. Once you know what is the trigger for the craving/attack you'll be better prepared for it.

 00-brazilnuts.jpg Plan Ahead
The next phase is to plan and arm yourself with nutritious and fibrous foods which will curb your hunger. If you're at work, make sure you have healthy snack foods in your locker such as corn thins, rice wafers, ryvita crackers, tuna, cottage cheese, low fat yoghurt, almonds, air popped corn, raw vegetables such as celery, coleslaw and some whey protein powder would also be a good idea. 

Try not to have too much fruit as these contain natural sugars and often not very satisfying and can encourage more hunger pangs. However if you do have fruit, make sure you have some protein, such as yoghurt, with it as this will slow down the rate the sugar enters your bloodstream and keep you fuller for longer.

Watch out for Convenient "Health" Foods
If you're not so prepared and you need to go hunting for food, make sure you read labels carefully, especially those which claim to be 'health' foods. Muesli bars that are often sold in health shops are often high fat and high in carbohydrates as a result of the mix of raisins, nuts, oats and saturated oils that they are mixed in. If possible try and avoid muesli bars as they are also high in calories and often laden with hidden fats and oils.

Protein Bars
If you are searching for a convenient source of high quality protein and carbohydrate, then a protein bar may be your best option. Again, read the label carefully as not all protein bars are created equally.

When choosing a bar you should look at the total calories and the carb to protein ratio. There are several different types of bars available, including energy bars, protein bars and meal replacement bars. The ratio of nutrients in each type can vary greatly. Your best bet is to choose one with a substantial amount of protein (25-30 grams of protein, preferably whey, is good for a bar), moderate carbohydrates (15-20g) and low fat (4-8g).

Furthermore, check that they bar does not contain high amounts of refined sugars such as sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and chocolate - if these are found high on the list of nutrition ingredients then give them a miss. A typical barshould list protein powder (such as whey isolate) as the first ingredient and corn syrup as the second ingredient. You should also look out for the type of fat that it contains and avoid bars which use hydrogenated oils and tropical oils such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil. These are the "bad fats" that can clog up your ateries and can cause heart disease and cancer in later life.

Protein bars can be a convenient snack but don't have too many each week, up to 2 per week would be the maximum as they can be quite hard for your body to digest and require a lot of water by your kidneys to process. Plus they can also be very costly on your purse strings. However, it's better to reach for a protein bar than a Moro isn't it?!

Your snack attacks can be controlled with the right reseach and forward planning. The key is to learn and take notice what your body is telling you and when it's telling you. Once you've decifered what your body is missing, you will be able to maintain a healthier eating pattern without going overboard on any particular food.

Wherever possible, snack on whole foods that are high in protein and contains moderate carbohydrates. As a general rule females should have at least 20g of protein at each meal. Remember we should also be having at least 5 meals per day, spaced out every 3 hours. This will help increase our metabolism and assist in our muscle building and fat loss goals.

So snacking does have a very important place in our total muscle building and sculpting plan, it's just a matter of making the right choices and not giving in to those attacks!

Happy Snacking!!
Lisa @ GoFigure

November '11 

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