Snack Smarter to Stay Healthy

Fresh tomato slices and herbs from the garden make a great summertime snack.
Snacks can be an important way to help you stay energized and alert between meals, especially if you’re always on the go. However, making poor snack choices can be quite detrimental to your diet, even if you eat healthy at meal times. Learning to snack smarter can boost your energy, satisfy your hunger, and save your waistline. The following tips will help you avoid common snacking mistakes and choose better quality snacks to keep you fuller and healthier.

Snacking can be very dangerous  if you don’t pay attention to how much you’re actually eating. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a study showing that adolescents get an average of 526 calories from snacks every day (That’s almost a quarter of the calories they need in a day!) The study also showed that the more snacks that adolescents eat in a day, the more total calories they consumed. Meaning that snacking more between meals ultimately does not lead to eating less at meal time. Additionally, the study found that  teens who snack 4 or more times a day end up eating more than 1.5 times the calories of those who don’t snack at all.

A good way to prevent consuming so many calories from snacks is to stop eating when you are preoccupied.  A study from the American Society for Clinical nutrition found that eating in front of the TV leads to overeating because when people eat when they are distracted they do not realize they are full, or how much they have actually eaten. Another way you can prevent overeating between meals is by portioning out snacks onto plates, or into small plastic containers if you are bringing them on the go. This will keep you from eating more than you should.

Snacks can also be quite harmful if the types of foods you are choosing to snack on are packed with calories and have little nutritional value.  Making smart snack choices can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. Additionally, healthier snack choices will also leave you feeling full, alert, and satisfied for a lot longer than high calorie snacks with no nutrients.

If you’re a fan of the 100-calorie packs, please know, these packets may be easy and low-calorie (if you only eat one package), but they are certainly not the ideal snack. If you like these packages because they are quick and easy to grab in the morning, ditch the 100 calorie packs of cookies or chips and pick up some individual pre-packaged almonds. These packages of nuts have the same amount of calories and their nutritional content far exceeds that of the cookies. Additionally, the protein packed nuts will keep you feeling full for longer than the sugary, processed cookies will.

If you enjoy sweet snacks, try fresh fruit instead of cookies, cakes, candy, pudding cups, etc. The sugar in these treats is likely to cause spikes in energy, which can be followed by a crash. Fresh fruit will help keep you energized and fuller much longer than sweets would. Plus, fruit is a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  For on-the-go snacks, try apples, oranges, or bananas (pre-packaged for your convenience by nature!)  Fresh veggies also make a great snack. Like fresh fruit, they have a high nutritional content and taste great. Try eating a variety of colored fruits and vegetables as they all contain different nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Many grocery stores now offer fruits and vegetables from different parts of the world that most Americans have never heard of. Trying these different, exotic fruits and veggies can be a fun way to spice up your snack life!

Smart snacking is key to maintaining your health .If you are mindful of how much you are consuming between meals and make smart snack swaps, you can be satisfied and energized between meals, without sacrificing your weight or well-being.

 

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