Snacks are such a part of the culture of the western world that we sell them in vending machines in our workplaces and hotels and in baskets and shelves at gas stations and pharmacies. Just in case we get caught without them, we keep a ready supply of snacks in our own home.
I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that it achieves its maximum flavor potentialMITCH HEDBERG, comedian
Snacking is how most of us fortify ourselves to make it through busy days. It is also the single biggest way we undermine our diet and healthy weight goals.
Making the right choices.
The problem is that what most of us consider a “good” snack ….as in something tasty and full of calories and cream and sugary frosting, is really a “bad” snack.
The best approach to healthy snacking is to consider everything you reach for between breakfast, lunch and supper to be a “mini-meal” subject to the same healthy guidelines as real meals.
Here are 10 of the best nutritious snacks you can consume regularly without harming your health:
- Fresh fruit. What could be easier to move around with you than a banana, a little bag of washed grapes, an apple, a small box of raisins, or a container of blueberries, strawberries, or cut-up fruit?
- Fresh vegetables. Carrot and celery sticks, sticks of green or yellow peppers, and tiny grape or cherry tomatoes can be concealed in a secure bag for easy access throughout the day.
- Whole grain bread. Need your carbs? Instead of stopping for a doughnut, select or bring a whole-grain bagel or half a slice of rye or pumpernickel bread. Whole wheat pita bread with peanut butter can also cure your pangs of hunger.
- Small salad. You can bring these from home or pick them up at delis everywhere. Select one with lots of leafy greens and a bit of fruit or other vegetables on it.
- Nuts and seeds. A handful of almonds or walnuts or sunflower or pumpkin seeds will fill you up quickly.
When you are buying groceries, think about your snacking needs and buy foods that are nutritious and easy to take with you.
Avoid the traditional snacks that you are most attracted to, things like potato chips or French fries, cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, and chocolate bars.
Besides focusing on nutritious snacks, think about when you snack and how much you want to eat. Try to avoid heavy snacking late at night as scientific research has shown that habit can impact your weight and cholesterol more than if consumed during the day.
A study1 into the impact of nighttime snacks found that even when calories consumed are identical to food eaten during the day, the night-time snack increased the cholesterol of subjects.
Consider how much of a good thing you need in a snack to feel satisfied. For example, have you ever craved chocolate and eaten three chocolate bars at one sitting? According to a study on snacking done by researchers at Cornell University, 2 smaller portions will feel just as satisfying as larger portions within 15 minutes. Keep that in mind when deciding if one chocolate square is enough.
For more straightforward and useful evidence-based health advice, consult The Body Manual at …..
- Nighttime snacking reduces whole body fat oxidation and increases LDL cholesterol in healthy young women.
- Smaller Snacking is Smart Snacking: New study shows ‘just a bite’ will satisfy