Milk builds strong bones, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Common wisdom, but turns out the important thing is not just what to eat, it's when to eat it.
"We cannot evaluate the health of a food based solely on its grams of carbohydrates, fats or calories," says nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. "We also have to evaluate how easily or not it breaks down and digests in the body, and what time of day we are eating will affect health and digestion."
Timing is everything, especially when it comes to food, says Snyder.
Lunch on the GoDon't Eat: Protein Bars The one popular to-go snack to never reach for are prepackaged protein bars, says Snyder. The main ingredient is often soy protein isolate, which is a highly processed, genetically modified protein that is difficult to digest and can depress thyroid function.
Do Eat: Avocados Run into a deli and grab a whole avocado. Avocados are a nonclogging plant fat with tons of minerals and fiber. Avocados give stomachs a "full feeling" and provide long-burning fuel for a jam-packed day.
Family Road TripDon't Eat: Fruit Snacks Don't feed kids prepackaged fruit snacks. Even though the snacks say "100% juice" on the label, they are often laced with sugar. The fruit snacks make kids' blood sugar spike, causing them to feel hungrier.
Do Eat: Almond Butter Sandwiches Almonds are a blood sugar stabilizer that will keep your kids calm. Avoid using peanut butter since most popular brands are loaded with sugar. Almond butter is a healthier alternative. Most almond butter is made without sugar, and almonds are full of vitamin E and protein. And be sure to toast the bread. Toasting is important because it bakes out the sticky starch qualities and makes it easier to digest.
Date NightDon't Drink: Diet Soda In the days leading up to date night, don't drink diet soda. Diet soda may boast zero calories but the artificial sugars are highly glycemic, which throws blood sugar off and can promote weight gain. Diet soda is also extremely acid-forming, which demineralizes bodies, which are beauty minerals for skin and hair. In addition, an acidic body is more likely to retain weight.
Do Eat: Watermelon Instead, leading up to the night, eat lots of watermelon. Watermelon is a natural diuretic that will flush excess fluids out of the body, leaving the body at its most lean.
Midnight SnackDon't Eat: Fruit A midnight snack is OK but don't reach for the fruit and think it's a healthy choice. Most people eat proteins and carbohydrates at dinner, which stay in the body for four hours. Fruit digests out of the stomach in 20-30 minutes. If fruit is consumed at night, it will sit on top of the slower digesting foods and cause indigestion. Backup leads to bloating, which is the worst feeling when going to bed and weight gain. Even if someone is asleep, the body will be working overtime.
Do Eat: Veggie Sticks The best midnight snacks are quick-moving alkaline foods such as carrots, celery or any vegetable stick. Vegetables won't bloat the stomach, and the body will be able to rest.
For more information on Kimberly Snyder, visit kimberlysnyder.net.