Healthy Snack Time
Grrrrr. Grrrrrr. It is 2:00 in the afternoon and you find that your stomach is growling and your energy is fading. Time for a snack – but do you usually reach for healthy snacks?
Most of us go to the vending machine down the hall. Who had time to prepare a healthy snack? You barely had time to throw a quick lunch together.
Benefits of Healthy Snacks
Snacks provide you with an extra little boost in the late morning or late afternoon. To keep energy levels going, and avoid weight gain, steer clear of foods with lots of simple carbohydrates (sugars) like candy bars or soda. It is best to bring or buy healthy snacks that contains both some protein and carbohydrates, so that you are able to better maintain your blood sugar level and stave off your hunger until the next real meal.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Celebrating National Snack Food Month:
Get good at reading.
Don’t trust the claims of the food’s manufacturer on the front of the package. Judge whether a food is healthy for you by reading the ingredients and the nutrition information on the food label.
Get the right tools.
You need a good food carrier. Insulated bottles are good for hot or cold foods, like chilled fruit or soups. Pack a fanny pack for those who have jobs where they move around a lot, or are outside.
Prepare healthy snacks in advance.
When you make something yourself, you get to control the ingredients. Keep plenty of fresh fruit and veggies in the refrigerator. Cut up melons or vegetables like celery and carrots in advance.
Make it interesting.
Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring. Try whole-wheat pretzels with spicy mustard, rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins, or low-fat fruit yogurt. Half a cheese sandwich also makes a great snack to have on standby.
Satisfy cravings with healthy snacks.
If you’re a chocolate lover, try a hot chocolate drink instead of a chocolate bar. An 8-ounce mug of hot chocolate has only 140 calories and 3 grams of fat. A chocolate bar, on the other hand, has 230 calories and 13 grams of fat. Substitute non-fat frozen yogurt or sorbet for ice cream. If you’re craving munchies, snack on baked tortilla chips instead of regular corn chips and pair them with salsa instead of sour cream. Or satisfy salt cravings with pretzels instead of chips.
Go the caveman way.
If you are not familiar with the paleo diet, also known as the Stone Age diet, it is based on how humans ate before the Agricultural Revolution. Try: Fresh Fruit – fruit is healthy, but many people seldom eat it. Salad & Vegetables- greens always make a healthy snack. You can also add fish, eggs or meat. Dried Nuts & Fruits – nuts are very high in protein and healthy fats. Peanuts are the least healthy of nuts, so try to stick to other nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews.
Some other interesting healthy snacks:
- Ants on a log — Spread peanut butter on celery sticks and top with raisins.
- Banana ice — Peel several very ripe bananas, break them into 1-inch pieces, and freeze the pieces in a sealed plastic bag. Just before serving, whirl the pieces in the blender with a small amount of water or juice. Serve right away. Add berries for a different flavour or top with fruit or nuts.
- Healthy ice pops — Freeze fresh, unsweetened 100% juice in ice pop moulds or ice cube trays.
- Whole-grain pita and hummus — Warm a pita in the oven on low, then cut it into small triangles. Dip it in a tasty, low-fat hummus.
- Apple and peanut butter: An apple is a classic example of a healthy food, Add some peanut butter for dipping
- Cottage cheese with 5 baby carrots: Cottage cheese is a powerhouse for protein.
- Yogurt and Fruit: Yogurt comes in different fruit flavours, but choose a lower sugar plain yogurt combined with fruit.
- Crackers and cheese stick: A few crackers (4-5) with a cheese stick will provide you with a nice snack to help curb your appetite.
- Jerky and a fruit or vegetables: Beef or turkey jerky is a very portable snack coupled with cut vegetables or a peach or dried fruit.
People Who Snack vs People Who Don’t Snack
Research shows that people who eat regular meals and healthy snacks are less likely to overeat and gain weight than people who skip meals or go for long periods without eating. Thinking ahead is the key to smart snacking. So…happy snacking.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!
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