If you haven’t had a fulfilling breakfast early in the morning, chances are you will feel like binging on mid-morning snacks. Mid-morning is simply defined as the middle of the morning – around 10 a.m. – the usual hours between breakfast and lunch. But it is also important to be aware of the side effects of unhealthy mid-morning snacks. These binge sessions can lead to unwanted weight gain if they are high in calories and have bad fats, sweets and other empty calories.
Mid-morning snacks that are making you fat
The expert lists down some of the unhealthy foods that we tend to binge on first thing in the morning, and they can hinder our weight loss goals.
“Biscuits or bakery items such as cookies and pastries should not be added to our diet as they contain unhealthy fats and processed ingredients and an excess amount of sugar which is unhealthy and leads to weight gain,” says the expert.
2. Sugary foods
Even though sweet meals are not a morning thing, people with a dominant sweet tooth love to savour sweet treats in the morning accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee. When taken in excess, foods like cookies, candy, and sugary cereals can be high in empty calories which causes sugar spikes and weight gain. If you have a sugar craving, go for something naturally sweet and in smaller quantities.
“Due to their high sugar content and low nutrient density, soda and other sugary/carbonated drinks can cause weight gain. Hunger and thirst also can be misleading at times, so hydrating the body is important during the day,” says our expert.
Parathas, a North Indian favourite, is consumed as a breakfast item in various parts of India. While parathas themselves can be a healthy option with their mix of vegetables and wheat, the addition of copious amounts of butter and pickles can turn them into an unhealthy calorie bomb.
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4. Processed and high-fat foods
The expert says, “Constant consumption of foods such as chips, fried snacks and greasy fast food can lead to unwanted weight gain because they are calorie-dense foods. Snacking can be done with healthy alternatives like fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, or a small dish of almonds”.
5. Salty foods
Salty foods can be high in calories and cause water retention, which makes you feel bloated and heavier. Examples include salted almonds and popcorn with loads of butter and salt. Excess salt can also cause inflammation in the body.
“The primary reason why these snacks lead to unwanted weight gain is due to their high content of calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. They are often deep-fried in hydrogenated oils at high temperatures, leading to the formation of free radicals, which can increase cholesterol levels and the risk of cancer. The excessive caloric intake from these snacks can lead to weight gain and elevate the risk of various health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and joint problems,” says the expert.
Side effects of mid-morning snacks
It’s not just the type of snacks but also the frequency and portion sizes that can lead to unwanted weight gain. Excessive snacking can result in the consumption of excess calories, reducing your hunger at meal times or even causing you to skip meals altogether. This can lead to a deficiency of essential nutrients and disrupt your overall dietary balance.
Healthy snacking tips
To save all from the habit of unhealthy eating habits in the morning or during the day, the expert shares some extremely useful tips.
● Focus on the amount to eat: In general, one must snack about 200 calories and at least 10gm of protein, so that it helps you stay full till your next meal but at the same time does not make you so full that you end up skipping a major meal.
● Frequency: The number of snacks or foods consumed by a person varies on the activity levels and meal sizes. If one is very active, they can snack 2-3 times per day, whereas a sedentary person should restrict their snacking to once a day.
● Snacks to avoid: Avoid processed, high-sugar snacks that may give one a brief jolt of energy, but will make one feel hungrier an hour or so late.