SOME HEALTHY SNACKING STRATEGIES

                           

How can you keep snacking from derailing your healthy eating program, not to mention weight control? Try these tips.

Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals may seem like a good way to cut calories, but in fact this just makes you so hungry later in the day that you’re vulnerable to devouring mega-portions of snack food in order to supply your body with easily digested sugars.

Keep junk food out of the house. There’s a lot of truth to the old joke about the “see-food diet” — you see food and you eat it. The opposite is also true. If you don’t have junk food lying around, the sight of it won’t tempt you, so don’t even bring it home. After all, you can’t eat what isn’t there. Or, if someone in your household tends to have chips or other unhealthful snacks, put them out of sight.

Snack mindfully. Have you ever watched a show on television with a bag of chips or pint of ice cream in hand, only to find that it was all gone before you knew it? This type of mindless eating can pack on a lot of unwanted calories. The solution is simple. Try not to snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and pay attention to your snack. Savoring a piece of fine chocolate can be more satisfying than gobbling down a whole chocolate bar.

Remember, you can take it with you. Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your purse or the glove compartment of your car. If you have a healthy snack handy — preferably, one you really like — you won’t turn in desperation to the calorie-laden cookies at the coffee counter or the candy. My preference is a wide variety of nuts—peanuts, pistachios, etc. It’s best to consume them in their salt-free form. Popcorn is also a viable option, but again without salt or other high caloric additives. Additional ideas are provided in a previous post: http://www.mortontavel.com/2015/04/05/

Zero in on hunger. Before you snack, ask yourself, “Am I truly hungry?” Many of us mistake emotions, such as stress and fatigue, for hunger. If the answer is yes (your stomach feels hollow, your head is achy), make sure you’re not confusing hunger with thirst. Drink an 8-ounce glass of water, then wait 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry, have a healthful snack.

Know your cravings. If you want a snack, but you’re not hungry, attack cravings from a psychological level. Ask yourself how you’re feeling. Lonely? Bored? Stressed? Then, ask yourself the bigger question: Will food fix this problem? The answer is always no. Eating a cookie, for example, won’t address a problem at work that you’re worried about. Go for a walk around the block, do a few stretches, put on some music, or choose another simple activity that might distract you or boost your mood. Then if you still want the food, fine. Ask yourself what food you really want. Then eat only a small amount, and make it good. If you’re craving chocolate, for example, eat one small square and savor it. It’s important that you snack on what you’re craving rather than deny the craving. Eating around a craving may only cause you to eat more because the craving isn’t satisfied.

Hopefully, these tips might make life a bit more pleasant and free of that undesirable excess weight!

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YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A GOOD SNACK!

In general, most snacks are bad: They often add extra pounds and possess empty calories, falling in the “junk food” category. But there is a bright side for those who must grab an occasional snack.

For many people, snacking between meals may account for up to 25% of their total daily caloric intake. Therefore, if you must snack, choosing wisely what you consume is of utmost importance.

So what constitutes a healthy snack? Your best bet is to take small portions of nutrient-packed, unprocessed foods. Each snack should include food groups that possess no more that 100 to 200 calories. A 6-ounce container of low-fat yogurt is a great choice, especially for women, for it contains lots of calcium and limited sugar. One study found that, in comparison with chocolate or crackers, women who ate yogurt with 14 grams of protein as an afternoon snack consumed about 100 fewer calories at dinner, mainly because protein creates more longer-lasting satiation.

If you don’t like yogurt, an ounce of nuts with fruit eaten daily provides an excellent combination of fat and protein, which in scientific studies, has been found to greatly reduce your chances of developing both heart disease and cancer.

Other decent choices are a cup of low-sodium vegetable soup or half a sandwich containing lean meat with whole-grain bread.

If the choices above are inconvenient, you might opt for a snack bar, and there are a few out there that can fulfill the same requirements. To do so, they should contain real foods like oats, nuts, raisins, or dried fruit.  So look for these components, but if the label lists soy protein or chicory root at the top, that means the manufacturer boosted the protein or fiber content with less wholesome ingredients. Also if multiple sugars are listed, such as high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, or fruit juice concentrate, this means that the sweetness comes primarily from added sugars rather than dried fruit, and the caloric content may be excessive. Although the fat content in these latter products may be of the unsaturated variety from nuts, it may come from less desirable sources such as saturated fats or trans-fats, which are unhealthy. So always scrutinize the labels carefully.

Depending upon your taste preferences, the following nutritious snack bars can be selected:

Kind Plus Cranberry Almond

Raw Revolution Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate

Abound Pomegranate and Cranberry (CVS)

Larabar Uber Dark

Larabar Blueberry Muffin

So don’t give up all hope, snacking can actually be both healthy and fun!

 

 

 

 

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