The Holistic Approach to Snacking: A Functional Nutrition Coach’s Perspective


Snacking – a small word that stirs up a tornado of opinions, debates, and health advice. For some, it’s a guilty pleasure that may bring on waves of remorse later. For others, it’s a crucial part of the day to keep energy levels sustained. But where do we draw the line between healthy snacking and indulgence? With nutrition advice available at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming to navigate the flood of information. I’m here to provide clarity, give you the support you need, and share a new perspective on snacking.

The Basics

Bowl of almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts

Firstly, let’s define what snacking is. Snacking typically involves consuming food or beverages between regular meals. But here’s the essential detail – what you snack on and when you snack can have profound effects on your health.

Is it okay to snack every day? Yes, it can be, provided we make mindful choices. Snacking doesn’t have to be synonymous with unhealthiness. It’s all about balance, type, timing, and frequency. The key is to treat snacking as a time to nourish your body with beneficial nutrients, not just to curb your hunger.

The Impacts of Snacking on Blood Sugar and Inflammation

Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries high in antioxidants

Delving into the significant effects of snacking, it’s crucial to consider both blood sugar levels and inflammation. Whenever you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. In response, your body releases insulin to help absorb this glucose. Frequent snacking, particularly on high-sugar foods, can lead to recurring spikes in blood sugar and insulin, potentially resulting in insulin resistance over time, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. However, don’t be deterred from snacking. When chosen carefully, snacks can help stabilize blood sugar levels, particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes. Opting for low-glycemic index foods, like vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day.

Parallelly, the relationship between snacking and inflammation is pivotal. Certain foods can instigate inflammation, a protective response by your body’s immune system. While acute inflammation is beneficial, acting as your body’s in-built security system, chronic inflammation can contribute to various diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Regrettably, many popular snack choices, including sugary snacks, processed foods, and those high in unhealthy fats, can stimulate inflammation. However, numerous snacks can combat inflammation. Foods like berries, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, are beneficial snack options.

To Graze or To Gorge?

Brown cow with horns in pasture laughing at camera

The debate between grazing (eating small amounts frequently) and gorging (eating large amounts in one sitting) has been ongoing. But from a functional nutrition perspective, neither is universally right nor wrong. It depends on your body’s needs and responses.

Some people may find that grazing helps them maintain energy and focus throughout the day without causing drastic blood sugar fluctuations. Others may find that sticking to three main meals without snacking works best. It’s crucial to tune in to your body’s cues and observe how different patterns affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally.

When to Snack?

Large clock in train station

The best time to snack is another subjective matter. However, it can be beneficial to have a snack a few hours after a meal when you start to feel your energy levels drop. Listening to your body’s hunger cues is vital. Be aware, though, that late-night snacking can interfere with your sleep and digestion, especially if you’re consuming high-sugar or high-fat foods. Ideally, try not to eat anything for at least 2 hours before going to bed.

What to Avoid and What to Embrace?

Avocado and chickpea salad

So, let’s dive deeper into the snacks we should avoid and the ones we should incorporate into our daily diets.

To start, try to limit the consumption of ultra-processed snacks like packaged cookies, potato chips, and fast-food items. These snacks often contain trans fats, high amounts of sodium, and artificial additives, all of which can cause inflammation and adversely impact blood sugar levels. Sugary drinks, candies, and pastries are also common culprits, as they can cause rapid spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.

Think twice before reaching for “low-fat” or “sugar-free” snacks, too. These often contain artificial sweeteners or added sugars to compensate for the loss of taste, which can still cause a blood sugar spike. Likewise, many ‘healthy’ cereal bars are often laden with hidden sugars, so always read the label carefully.

Instead, opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. These are snacks that are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which can help you feel fuller for longer, manage your weight, and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Here are some simple yet tasty snack ideas:

  • Fresh fruit paired with a handful of raw nuts – this combination provides a good balance of fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
  • Hummus served with a variety of raw vegetables like bell peppers, cucumber, or carrots – a nutrient-rich, fiber-filled snack.
  • Greek yogurt (unsweetened) topped with a sprinkle of chia seeds and fresh berries – a great source of protein, probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • A small serving of quinoa salad with diced veggies, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon – packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
  • A smoothie made with spinach, banana, blueberries, and a scoop of plant-based protein powder – a refreshing, nutrient-dense snack.

Now, let’s dive into a simple, healthy snack recipe you can try out at home:

Avocado Chickpea Salad on Whole Grain Toast


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 can of organic (BPA free can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Organic gluten-free bread


1). Mash the avocado in a bowl until it reaches your preferred consistency.
2). Add the chickpeas to the bowl and slightly mash them with the avocado.
3). Stir in the lemon juice, and parsley, and add salt and pepper to taste.
4). Toast your gluten-free bread to your liking.
5). Spread a generous amount of the avocado chickpea salad on your toast.

Enjoy this heart-healthy, fiber-rich snack that’s loaded with healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates.

This is a satiating snack that will keep your blood sugar levels steady and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.


As your journey towards healthier snacking begins, remember this – the goal is progress, not perfection. Health is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, and the same goes for snacking. It’s about making better choices most of the time, not berating yourself for the occasional indulgence. And, in this journey, you are not alone. Together, we can work towards making snacking a healthy and enjoyable part of your everyday life.

Start today. Make one better snack choice.

Your body will thank you. You’ve got this!

Get Personalized Support with Joseph at Re-Root Functional Nutrition Coaching

Re-Root Functional Nutrition Coaching 3 Month Program In 5 Simple Steps

Looking for 1:1 coaching support to help you achieve your diet and lifestyle goals to support your sleep, then please book your free 30-minute discovery call with me today by clicking HERE.

During this call, we will:

  • Uncover your story about your health challenges to date.
  • Get clear on your diet and lifestyle goals to improve your health.
  • Discuss how I can help you get back to feeling like your old self again.
  • Share the details of my 3-Month Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching Program
  • Learn about my overall coaching philosophy & what you can expect from me.
  • See if we’re a good fit to work together.
  • Walk away with actionable steps to promote your wellness journey.

By the end of our conversation, you’ll feel optimistic and motivated to start making positive changes in your life.

Don’t keep putting off feeling better any longer, today’s the day to start making a difference.

Note: The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not replace personalized medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional or functional nutrition coach for individualized guidance and treatment.

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