Imagine you are starving before dinner and you wolf down a packet of potato chips or you are watching a movie and you finish a large tub of popcorn. You feel incredibly guilty afterwards, don’t you? Well, what if you were to nosh on a handful of tossed plain popcorn before dinner? Feels less decadent already, doesn’t it? If you’ve seen the movie Supersize Me you’d understand our preoccupation with ginormous quantities of food and that we are consuming far more than we should. You would also notice that if we are distracted with the television or eating while doing chores or standing – you’ll end up eating a lot more than you normally would. Eating mindfully is a very important technique that will tell you when you’ve had enough and is the best tool you have to keep your weight under control.

On the flip side, there are others who are way too strict with our diets eliminating food groups entirely because we are influenced by the food/ diet trends and what the wellness blogosphere has to say about a particular food group. A lot of my friends and acquaintances have shunned all cereal, alcohol, grain, dairy, sugar, fruit and red meat from their diets entirely. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like way too much abstaining.

This post is in accordance with Stretchery’s a handful of theme. Based on the premise that a handful is a good rule of thumb for portion size and that moderate consumption of everything has health benefits. Unless you are intolerant or allergic, I don’t recommend that you do away with food groups entirely. A handful or fistful of food – whether its lean meat, fruits or nuts is a great way to size up your meals without being too strict with your diet.

Research shows that a handful of plain, unsalted nuts help regulate blood sugar, provide satiety and boost your metabolism. Fasting or skipping meals and eating too much at once can make you feel lethargic and drowsy. Instead, nosh on a handful of nuts, berries or fox nuts (makhanas) to beat the mid meal slump and to stay energized. Alternatively, you can also opt for almond butter and apple slices or a handful of cherries or red grapes to curb those hunger pangs. If you satisfy your need to nosh you’ll be less likely to binge on something highly calorific. It is a wise choice to keep healthy snack foods in the car, pantry and on your work station so you can reach for it when you are feeling peckish.

Obsessing over the scale, counting calories and measuring your food can be extremely tedious and lest we forget, annoying to other diners. Using your hand or fist for measuring portion size is a more practical approach. If you are trying to lose weight and improve your body composition – you can eat more lean protein and healthy fats. Limit your starch and fruit consumption in the evenings and try and go carb heavy when you are training hard. If you are taking rest days, try and avoid a high carb, high glycemic index diet.

A handful of air popped popcorn.
A handful of grapes.
A handful of cherries.
A handful of mixed seeds.
A handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts).
A handful of fistful of grilled chicken or smoked chicken.

Good luck. Happy snacking!

 

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