Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Healthy Snacking

Got the munchies and the candy bar is just not satisfying those hunger pains? Some people have the mindset of snacking is “bad” for you, but the USDA recommends we eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day, and that includes 2-3 snacks! When choosing healthy snacks, you want to look for food items that are between 100 – 200 calories and nutrient dense. Nutrient dense?  It means that a particular food is packed with nutrients! So when you’re reading that food label and looking at the fat calories versus total calories, the fat calories should not be more than 1/4 – 1/3 of the total calories. Reading the ingredient list also helps to identify nutrient dense food items.  Looking for whole grain ingredients or raw fruits and veggies helps. Avoid food ingredients that are enriched, processed, bleached, refined, preserved, etc. All of these words mean the ingredient has been stripped of nutrients and gone through a process where preservatives have been added to sustain it longer.
Tips to be mindful of when packing those snacks – know your portion sizes beforehand, avoid mindless snacking in front of the TV, reading, or while driving, avoid shopping when you’re hungry to decrease impulse buying at the store, and stock up on healthy options.  Remember, when you’re getting ready to go in the morning and you’re grabbing your packed lunch of PB&J on wheat, water, fruit and veggie slices, and a cheese stick, don’t forget to throw in a snack for mid morning and late afternoon!
Here are some great ideas for a quick snack! And don't forget to download our Healthly Lifestyle Cookbook (on the right side of the page) for more recipies and ideas for healthy meals and snacks!
 Snacks with less than 5 grams of carbohydrate
  • 3  celery sticks + 1 Tablespoon of  peanut butter
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 5 cherry tomatoes + 1 Tablespoon ranch
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup cucumber slices + 1 Tablespoon ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of salad greens, 1/2 cup of diced cucumber, and with vinegar and oil
  • 1 frozen sugar-free popsicle
  • 1 cup of light popcorn
  • 2 saltine crackers
  • 10 gold-fish crackers
  • 16 green olives
  • ½ cup sugar-free gelatin
  • 1 piece of string cheese stick
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin or sesame seeds
  • ¼ of a whole avocado (~4 g.)
About 10-20 grams of carbohydrate
  • ½ cup almonds or other nuts
  • ¼ cup dried fruit and nut mix
  • 1 cup chicken noodle, tomato (made with water),  or vegetable soup
  • 1 small apple or orange
  • 3 cups light popcorn
  • 1/3  cup hummus + 1 cup raw fresh cut veggies (green peppers, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or a combination of these)
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup canned or fresh fruit
  • 1 cheese quesadilla (made with one 6-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz shredded cheese) + ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 rice cakes (with a 4-inch diameter) + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 5 whole wheat crackers (or ¾ oz) + 1 piece of string cheese
  • ½ turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz turkey + mustard)
  • ½ cup tuna salad + 4 saltines