The right snacks can contribute to a healthy diet and lifestyle by supplying your body with energy and even restoring concentration between meals. Too often, though, it seems easier to snack on candy, chips, and soda, which negatively impact our Health.
Healthy Snacks: How to Choose Wisely
To ensure between-meal munchies have a positive effect on your diet, keep a variety of healthy items on hand. Nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese, and dried fruits are easy-to-grab, healthful snack option. But snacking shouldn’t be viewed in isolation, says Alice H. Lichtenstein, Director and Senior Scientist at the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. “What matters is total caloric intake,” she says. Striking the appropriate caloric balance and getting the recommended amount of energy and nutrition is the biggest challenge most of us have, Dr. Lichtenstein explains.
What’s really important is whether we’re getting our daily requirements, people don’t get the recommended amount of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables on a regular basis. That’s where snacking can help. If your meals generally provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, but not enough fiber or protein, for instance, try to select snacks that will supply what you’re lacking. Fruit is a great example. A 16-ounce cola has nearly 200 calories, more than 50 grams of sugar, no vitamins, and no fiber. A medium apple, which contains about 81 calories and 17 grams of sugar, packs in vitamin C and potassium, and has 4 grams of fiber.
Healthy Snacks: Read Package Labels Carefully
If a bag of cookies is labeled low-fat or touted as a snack-size portion, does that automatically mean it’s a good snack? Probably not. While it’s better to eat a small portion of cookies than a plateful, they’re still cookies. Packaging labels are designed to sell products; instead, focus on the nutrition label and the ingredients to find out what the food really contains. A general rule to follow for snacks, as well as meals, is the less processed the food, the better
Healthy Snacks: Combinations Can Boost the Yum Factor
Smart snackers treat snack time like mealtime, varying their choices from among the different food groups and only rarely choosing high-fat snacks. Nutritious snacks can be delicious, too. These choices are all tasty and because they contain calcium, protein, and fiber they are great for you!
- Celery sticks and peanut butter
- Cottage cheese with a spoonful of jelly stirred in
- Strawberries or grapes dipped in plain yogurt
- Tuna fish on whole-grain crackers