French Healthy Snacking Tip Might Help You Stay Trim

French Healthy Snacking Tip Might Help You Stay Trim

Much has been said about the so-called "French paradox," a mysterious ability that people in France have to stay slim and healthy despite the excessive amount of rich food they consume. Some attribute it to their consumption of resveratrol-rich red wine, while others attribute their preference for long, slow meals. But it can also have something to do with the fact that the French just do not eat a snack.

The healthy snack tip that we can take from France is that this is simply not the case.

An average French child starts his day with a large bowl of milk accompanied by a few tartines: slices of fresh bread spread with butter or jam. Meanwhile, French adults exchange a portion (or all) of the milk for coffee, and many forgo the tartines, effectively fasting instead of breakfast. Lunch is traditionally the longest and biggest meal of the day: adults who work in offices usually get one hour (or two!), And it's not uncommon to have lunch with their colleagues in a restaurant – and even to drink a glass of wine. A French dinner is a smaller version of the lunch: usually an appetizer (a kind of salad, like grated carrots with vinaigrette, grated celery root with remoulade or beetroot with herbs), a main dish, cheese and a dessert – which despite the fact That the French have access to all sorts of delicious pastries is usually a simple cup of yogurt.

And that's it.

In between meals there is no real snack culture in France: grab a bag of crisps in the cupboards, have a muesli bar "just-in-case" in your handbag or even drink a green juice, a smoothie or a snack during the day milky latte just does not catch the Frenchman. The only thing that does? A little bit for children in the afternoon, dubbed le quatre heures, or "at four o'clock". This snack is usually eaten at the kitchen table when the children come home from school, and helps the little bellies to stay full between lunchtime and 8pm. Dinner, but otherwise you will never catch anyone snacking in France.

This lack of grazing among the French seems to be a major factor in their ability to stay lean, and it makes sense. After all, it helps you to have fewer opportunities to eat during the day to save calories, which is evidenced by the popularity of intermittent fasting for weight loss. According to a 2013 study, those who cut out a meal consumed 400 fewer calories per day without feeling that they had to eat more during the other meals they ate. Here comes the big question …

Should you stop snacking?

Many American experts agree that not on purpose Grazing is a habit that Americans have to give up, including Nealy Fischer, author of Food you want for the life you long for,

"Personally, I do not really believe in snacks," she says, with the caveat that she, like the French, believes that children may occasionally need something extra between meals. "I think there are times when snacks are needed, especially after school," she says.

On the other hand, Elise Museles, Once Upon a Food Story Certified Expert in Eating Psychology and Nutrition and Podcast Presenter, believes that both children and adults can benefit from an afternoon snack, especially if between lunch and dinner big gap exists.

"I consider snacks as a bridge to keep your blood sugar stable," she says. "Even if you eat the most balanced lunch, if you eat it at 12 or 1 o'clock and wait six or seven hours, I am firmly convinced that you have a stable blood sugar level between these hours. However, if your eating habits tend to be to eat in a shorter period of time and stay between three and four hours between lunch and dinner, you do not necessarily need a snack – unless your body tells you [that] you need it."

CONNECTED: The simple guide to reducing sugar is finally here.

This is the last point that all our experts point out when it comes to finding out whether snacking is a good idea for you or not: learning how to identify your own hunger marks, an ability that many Americans do never really developed.

"My point is and will always be to find a diet that really suits you," says Lindsey Kane, Sun Basket's Director of Nutrition and RD, encouraging people to listen to their own hunger phrases to find out what's in store for them She feels best body. "Your body is biologically wired to give you a friendly kick when it needs to be fed. Focus less on how many snacks I'm allowed to have, and flip the script instead. Give yourself permission to eat as many snacks as you need to satisfy your hunger and strengthen your body. "

This way of thinking is contrary to popular fasting protocols, but our experts insist that it's certainly a good idea to wait until you're hungry for food and wait until you starve to death.

"If you withdraw just one meal a day, that's the poisonous 'all or nothing' mentality," explains Kane. "If you allow yourself to eat, you'll end up in a crazy, murky feeding frenzy – not in a state of mind where the most nutritious food choices are made."

Museles agrees.

"If we do not have a snack and wait so long, our blood sugar breaks down, and then we go into the next meal and can not think clearly what might affect our choices," she says.

Basically, there is no consistent approach: some people can take two or three meals a day well. others need three meals and one or two snacks – and that's fine.

"Some people are well fed and satisfied with three meals a day, others prefer up to six smaller meals, and some like me have found that we feel best and are satisfied with three meals and a large afternoon snack," he tells Monica Foreigners Moreno, MS, RD, LD / N, Nutritionist for RSP Nutrition. "As long as you more or less comply with the daily intake targets for all food groups, methods and times of consumption are not particularly important."

What should you eat?

If you think snacks are right for you, remember that not all snacks are the same. While the French quatre heures tends to be pretty sweet – baguette and dark chocolate, biscuits, pound cake or chouquettes just to name a few – the ideal afternoon snack should be healthy and nutritious.

"The same simple guidelines for creating healthy meals also apply to the snack category," says Kane. "If you focus on the quality of your snacks, the quantity becomes almost irrelevant."

"I think people should think about their snacks as much as they do about their meals," says Museles. "It should be balanced, they should also try to get fresh fruit or vegetables, and that is not just an afterthought."

Kane also notes that snacks should ideally be planned in advance to prepare for success.

"For some reason, we tend to be surprised when the hunger strike starts at 15:00. But more than once, this hunger strikes like clockwork every day, so it should not come as a surprise, "she says. "Consider these hunger sensations instead. If you are aware of the patterns, you can anticipate them by packing a healthy snack so that you are armed and ready when hunger is waiting for you. "

Here are just a few ideas for healthy, balanced snacks to get you started:

  • An apple with almond butter
  • Cheese and wholegrain crackers
  • High protein yoghurt with berries
  • Paprika slices with hummus
  • Gluten-free tortilla chips with guacamole
  • Sliced ​​papaya, protein-rich yogurt and berries
  • A mason jar of hummus and crudités (a light snack on the go!)
  • Homemade energy bars with nuts and seeds
  • Fruit and a handful of nuts

The great healthy snack tip: Be careful.

While these suggestions differ significantly from the standard French options, it is advisable to consider one element of the policy quatre heures: how and where it happens.

"Serve a snack like a meal, on a plate or in a bowl," says Kane. "Snacking out of the bag makes it unbelievably easy to subconsciously exaggerate without even noticing." Kane also encourages you to consciously take time for your snack.

"Try to disconnect yourself from your other tasks for a few minutes so that you can give yourself the time and space you need to be fully present," she says. "In this way, you can truly satisfy your hunger and respect your satiety, and know when you feel recharged to spend the rest of your day with a new energy boost."

As you approach the snack with this conscious, mindful philosophy, you ensure that all foods consumed between meals are targeted and nutritious.

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