What You Need to Know About Snack Portion Control

Want to know how to keep yourself from overeating at snack times? Read on for some tips on healthy snack portion control!

Snack Portion Control - Dried fruit and nuts in small colourful bowls

Image source: Huffington Post

Ever found yourself thinking “Oh, I’ll just have a little snack” – and find yourself holding an empty container 30 minutes later? Snacks are delicious. We get it. And sometimes, even if a snack is good for you, it’s easy to get carried away and eat more than you intend to.

So what do you do to enforce your own snack portion control?

Snack Portion Control - Different measuring cups and scoops filled with raw ingredients

Image source: vitacost.com

DIY Snack Packs

This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s usually easier said than done. Everyone knows eating straight out of the packet is a terrible idea – it’s just such a drag to take the time to portion out a snack when you’re already in Snack Mode.

Instead, try portioning out your snacks as soon as you get them, following the serving size listed on the packet. Got a bag of granola? Split it into 5 mini airtight containers or Ziploc bags. That way, whenever you’re reaching for a snack, grabbing one container is quick, easy, and saves the agony of determining whether you’ve had enough or not.

Snack Portion Control - Nuts and seeds packed into individual Ziploc bags in a metal bowl on a wooden background

Image source: Miss Information

Share the Joy

Ever heard the adage “Less men, more share”? The reverse is also true! If you don’t have the opportunity to portion your own snacks out, try getting someone to split a snack with you. Boom – automatic portion control. Plus, you score generosity points among your companions!

Snack Portion Control - Child in red sweater holding out snack to another child in black sweater

Image source: Flickr

Chug Some Water

As we’ve said before, our bodies often confuse thirst cues for hunger. Thus, drinking a large glass of water before snacking can help to differentiate true hunger from thirst.

Even if what you’re experiencing is actual hunger, the water will take up space in your stomach and curb your appetite temporarily to make controlling your snack portions easier.

Snack Portion Control - Clear jug of water wth lemon slices and leaves with a row of glasses in the background

Image source: Shutterstock

Pay attention

All too often, we snack while multitasking. At work? Grab a snack while completing that report. At home? Munch while staring at the television.

When we eat in a distracted state, our minds generally fail to process how much we’re eating – or even that we’re eating at all. This makes snack portion control way more difficult, as the amount you think you’re eating and the amount you’re actually eating can be way off.

Snack Portion Control - Young woman looking at glass bowl of salad sitting on patio

Image source: Shutterstock

So the next time you grab a snack, look at your food, chew it slowly, and be sure to enjoy it to the fullest!

Sticky
July 10, 2017

Should I Snack? 3 Things to Ask Before You Snack

Here at Amazin’ Graze, we love snacking. In fact, we love snacking so much, we make (and eat) snacks every day! But we’re also all for snacking responsibly. After all, snacking too much (and on the wrong foods) can certainly lead to health issues such as obesity, poorly controlled blood sugars, and more. So if you’re asking yourself “Should I snack?”, here are 3 things to consider before giving yourself an answer.

Should I Snack - Woman in kitchen looking at different snack options: fruits and pastries

Image source: International Institute for Diabetes Research

Am I really hungry?

We crave snacks for many reasons – boredom, anxiety, habit..even thirst! Yes, our bodies sometimes mistake thirst cues for hunger, leading us to eat when what we really need is a tall glass of water. So before you decide to snack, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry, or if there’s a different reason behind your craving!

Should I Snack - Mason jar of water with slived fruit and a mint leaf on a wooden surface

Image source: Eat This, Not That

What time is my next meal?

So, you’ve established that you’re really hungry and could do with some food. But wait – ask yourself another question: what time is your next meal? If the answer is “within the next hour”, it’s probably worth just waiting it out for the meal. Eating a snack too close to a meal can result in haywire blood sugar levels. Plus, you may not have the appetite to eat a proper meal, leading to the need for another snack later, and the cycle continues. Ideally, we should aim to leave about 3 hours of space between each meal/snack to allow our bodies time to digest.

Should I Snack - Bowl of fresh salad on wooden surface with knife and fork tied with green ribbon, alarm clock, and tape measure

Image source: DESIblitz

Is there a way to make this snack healthier?

Okay, you’re hungry and the timing is right for a snack. Before you dive in, how about making the most of the snack by considering how to make the snack even better for you? Hopefully you’re already starting with a good healthy snack base, like granolas or fruit. Consider adding some protein in the form of yogurt or nut butter! Or, if you don’t get many veggies in your main meals, consider snacking on a fresh salad topped with a fun nut mix!

Should I Snack - 2 tumblers with granola, yogurt, sliced bananas, blueberries, and strawberries

Image source: YouTube

The bottom line is, putting some thought into when you snack and what you snack on is key into making sure your snacks work for you. And of course, if your answer to the question “Should I snack?” is a “Yes!”, you know where you can find the best snacks in town! Hint – they’re in the Shop tab, and they’re Amazin’!

Sticky
July 03, 2017

The 3 Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting

As we gear up towards Ramadan, our thoughts turn towards keeping healthy throughout the fasting month, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We’re excited to have a guest post from Dr Ng KC bringing us the 3 most common mistakes people make while fasting – and how to correct them!

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting - Dates, arabian lantern and rosary on wooden backgrounf. Islamic holidays concept. Ramadan decoration

Image source: Yourtravelshop.com

Fasting during the hours of daylight (or sawm) is practiced by Muslims worldwide throughout the month of Ramadan, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. With most only taking two meals in a day, the fast can be challenging, and even dangerous when practiced wrongly. Since the fasting month is almost upon us, it seemed like a good time for me to draw on my medical experience to share three of most the common mistakes people make while fasting, and how to correct them.

Taking excessively sweet food during sahur

Image source: Pinterest

Sahur is the first meal of the day, taken before sunrise and the first prayer of the day. In some ways, this is the most crucial meal of the day for working Muslims, as they will be subsisting on the nutrition from this meal for the rest of the day. As a result, some choose to consume very sweet food for this meal (such as dates or traditional kuih), intended to provide energy for the day.

Although it seems to be a good idea on the surface, these foods actually make the challenge of fasting even more difficult. Excessive sugar is absorbed, processed and used quickly by the body. This means high blood sugar levels in the morning, followed by a rapid drop and hunger pangs for the rest of the day.

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting - Man in suit looking tired in front of computer

Image source: Daily Mail

Instead, the best food for sahur would consist of food items with complex carbohydrates and fiber, along with some protein and fats. The digestion of complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, oats, and wholemeal bread) takes a longer time and results in a slow release of sugar over the course of a few hours. The fiber, protein, and fat all help to stave off hunger pangs, and are essential parts of any balanced meal.

Overeating during iftar

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting: Table covered in Ramadan food

Image source: SingSaver

Iftar, or the breaking of the fast at sunset, is an eagerly awaited moment for many Muslims. After a long and difficult day of work, they are able to break their fast and relieve their hunger and thirst. Understandably, many prepare food in advance, only waiting for the sun to set to begin the feast. As a result, it is very common for them to consume a large amount of food very quickly and end up overeating.

Not only does this result in discomfort after the meal, nutritionally it is very unhealthy as well. After a day of starvation, the body is suddenly presented with an excess amount of food and struggles to cope with the sudden change. This results in a feeling of lethargy, making the exhaustion from the day’s work even worse.

A better way to handle this is to have a small snack (such as the traditional dates and milk) and a drink of water to break the fast, then wait until the evening prayers are complete to have a full meal.  This allows the body to begin the process of digestion gradually and also reduces the feeling of hunger, making overeating less likely.

Rehydrating with sugary drinks

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting: 5 clear glasses filled with ice and coloured drinks

Image source: Diariodegastronomia.com

As practicing Muslims don’t consume any food or drink during the fast, dehydration is another problem that commonly occurs during the fasting month. Especially in warmer climates, an entire day of work without a drink of water often means a feeling of great thirst by the end of the day.

Many people then turn to carbonated drinks, fruit juices, cordials or isotonic drinks for refreshment, soothing their thirst with the sweet and cold drinks. As you might imagine, this is not the best way to rehydrate the body, as the rapidly absorbed sugars tend to make people even thirstier.

Instead, the best way to rehydrate is simply with plain water. Ordinary water is rapidly absorbed by the body and will quickly relieve any feelings of thirst. And worries about electrolytes tend to be overblown; there is no need to take any electrolytes with your drinks as you will get most of the electrolytes you need from your meals.

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting - Chopping board with fresh vegetables, garlic, chili, and person slicing vegetables in the background

Image source: Malay Mail Online

Those are some pointers that I have learned from my time counselling people on their diets during the fasting month. But perhaps the most important advice is the simplest and yet most difficult principle to achieve: moderation. As the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: “Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: “One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.”

I hope that with the help of these pointers, you will be able to have a healthier and more fulfilling fast!

Are you gearing up for a healthy fast? Be sure to check out our brand NEW range of healthy snacks under the “Shop” tab above!

Sticky
May 22, 2017

Can Vegetables Make You Taller? Mom’s Nutrition Advice Proven True!

Can vegetables make you taller? Has Mom been right all along? Read on to find out!

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Mother feeding young girl at dinner table

Image source: Sarah Remmer

It’s mealtime and Mom is eyeing you and your plate of food. You can tell she’s bursting to say something – and you know it’s going to be advice. You sigh, because you’ve heard it all before – and it may have worked when you were a kid, but you’re an adult now. And you don’t buy it.

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young girl with hands over ears and mother speaking in the background

Image source: Yummy Mummy Club

But what if Mom’s advice (dare I say nagging) has been true all along? Here are some things that Mom might have told you growing up – that science now says is true!

“Eating your vegetables will make you grow taller”

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young boy putting his head down on the dinner table with a plate of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots holding a fork with a piece of broccoli

Image source: Mother Jones

Of course, we know that a person’s height has a lot to do with genetics. But science also has shown that nutrient intake, especially of protein, calcium, and Vitamin K, can also influence growth during childhood and adolescence.

Vegetables do contain some protein (not a whole lot), but they also contain lots of calcium and Vitamin K (especially the dark green leafy veggies). This calcium and Vitamin K are essential for the growth of your bones..and growing bones = more height!

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Two young girls comparing heights with each other

Image source: ABC

“Don’t eat in front of the TV”

Okay, so if you’re over 18 years old it may be too late to grow any more. Not vertically, anyway – our waistlines are easily expandable! That’s when this next piece of advice may come in handy.

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young woman sitting on white couch in front of television eating a meal

Image source: Foodbeast

In this generation of short attention spans, most of us use mealtimes to multitask by watching TV, using our phones, or reading a book while shoveling food in absent-mindedly. However, research has shown that eating with distractions causes us to consume more than we mean to, during that meal AND later in the day. This happens because your mind is simply not processing what you are eating. And unconsciously eating more = unwanted weight gain.

So listen to Mom and focus on your food while eating!

 “Don’t snack too close to dinner – you’ll ruin your appetite!”

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young boy reaching over counter to take cookies from a plate with a jar of cookies nearby

Image source: Scary Mommy

We’ve all snuck into the kitchen to steal a snack, only to be scolded with a “You’ll ruin your appetite for dinner!” And we probably snacked anyway, because how can a snack ruin your appetite? Turns out, it can!

You may still be able to eat your main meal, but it’s likely that you’ll consume less than you normally would minus the snack. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re going into a meal you know is going to be unhealthy (an overindulgent birthday party, for example) then planning a healthy snack right before can limit the damage.

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Table filled with party food of candied apples, pastries, doughnuts, strawberries, and a pitcher of punch

Image source: bicycling.com

However, regularly snacking before your healthy home cooked meals can mean more calories going to ‘junk’ food, instead of to the nutritious food that makes up your meal. If you find yourself excessively hungry before your main meals, try planning a snack about 2-3 hours beforehand, instead of letting yourself go hungry and reaching for anything on hand too close to your mealtime.

“If you don’t finish all your food, you’ll have acne when you’re older”

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young woman with manicured hands over her face looking shocked

Image source: Mirror

Okay, so maybe not everything Mom told you when you were younger was true. But it was all done from a heart of concern for your wellbeing. Our moms put so much of themselves into feeding us well when we were younger – and it’s about time we repay them in any way we can.

Top view of Lavender Honey Granola in a bowl with kraft packaging and gift jar packaging nearby

This Mother’s Day, we’ve decided that it’s our turn to feed Mom! We’re #feedingmom our Limited Edition Lavender Honey Granola, infused with real lavender flowers and lightly sweetened with honey. We’ve also thrown in crunchy pistachios, sunflower seeds, wild blueberries and sweet mulberries so you’ll be #feedingmom the BEST that nature has to offer!

For all the nagging advice, care, and mostly love that our Moms have given us over the years, let’s take the time to care for them too!

Sticky
May 05, 2017

Superbreakfast: What to Eat for Breakfast for an Energized Day Ahead!

Want to know what to eat for breakfast so you’ll have more energy to last you through the day? Read on!

Female legs running on road with sunset in background

Image source: Greatist

Okay, so we know that eating breakfast is a healthy habit. Now the next complication arises – what in the world do we eat for breakfast?! The answer….probably won’t surprise you, because it’s balance. I know, I know – balance again. But it’s true! Let’s break it down, food group by food group.

Protein

Breakfast plate with two eggs, avocado slices, and granola crumbles

Image source: Sprinkle of Green

This is the #1 nutrient that’s often missing in typical Asian breakfasts. Think back on your childhood breakfasts of toast spread with butter, or pieces of (very sweet) kuih, or even a bowl of noodles with some measly strips of meat (if any). All very low-protein options!

This is unfortunate, as including protein during breakfast keeps you full and stabilizes your blood sugar levels early in the day. Common protein breakfast foods are eggs, dairy products, nuts and nut butters, and superfoods like chia seeds or flax seeds.

Fiber

White bowl of granola, milk, and fresh fruits (oranges, blackberries, grapefruit) with flass of orange juice in background

Image source: Cooking Light

If you tend to eat out for even one meal a day, it can be difficult to meet your daily fiber needs. Breakfast is a great opportunity to top up on fiber via whole grains (especially oats), fruits, and nuts and seeds!

The best part is, the fiber that you get from these typically ‘breakfast’ foods is soluble fiber, which is especially good for heart health. The other kind of fiber, insoluble fiber, is easier to get from vegetables and other grains through the rest of the day.

Healthy Fat

Slice of toast with mashed avocado, raw onion slices, and sliced salmon

Image source: Serious Eats

If you find your stomach growling before lunchtime, it may be time to add some healthy fat into your breakfast. Fat in general takes longer to digest, keeping you full and satisfied for longer. Plus, if you make it a point to take in healthy fats, it’s good for your heart too! Win-win.

Healthy fats can be found in nuts and nut butters, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and oily fish like tuna and salmon. All delicious options for breakfast! But of course, fat (even the healthy kind) is still high in calories, so don’t go overboard – pick one of the healthy fat options at a time!

Complex Carbohydrates

Jars of overnight oats topped with fresh fruits

Image source: Betty Crocker

After fasting all night (hopefully no midnight snacking was involved), your body needs a source of fuel. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals, bread, and quinoa, or even starchy vegetables like sweet potato, pumpkin, or corn are great for providing sustained energy to last you through the day.

Putting it all together…

So here’s what to eat for breakfast:

Whole grain cereal (e.g. granola) with dairy or soy milk, topped with slices of fresh fruit and a spoonful of flax seeds.

Whole grain toast with light tuna and cucumber slices, and a piece of fruit on the side.

Scrambled eggs with avocado over quinoa.

A parfait of granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, and chia seeds.

The list is endless! And most of these can be prepared in under 5 minutes. So now you know what to eat for breakfast…go make your own superbreakfast today!

Don’t forget to get your FREE E-Book of granola parfait recipes! It won’t be available for much longer!

Also check out our new and improved range of Amazin’ Superfoods!

Sticky
April 17, 2017