When a craving strikes……

Your stomach is growling, but lunch is hours away. You might just grit your teeth, thinking that waiting for lunch is the best. Why sitting and waiting when you can always indulge in a snack!

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Having snacks in the right ratio of nutrients and calories will help keep your body energized.  Healthy snacks are like slow-burners that help you keep going all through the day.

2-3 snacks a day may just banish the post-meal sleepiness that usually results with engulfing more calories at one sitting.

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Fuel up ‘tween meals!  Sounds Great!  But what about those mindless nibbles on a bag of cookies, chocolates at your table. Munching them to sabotage a well-planned healthy diet, later?

Tempted to grab those shiny & mini – doughnuts, the slices of cakes, cup cakes with a crown of whipped cream  at the office cafeteria?  Who will say  “No” to these finger foods?  I am sure, everyone would like to enjoy, munching these energy-zapping sugary foods.  A nutrient-poor, sugar-laden snacks will give you a quick jolt of energy which is immediately followed by a crash that can leave you hungry, cranky, sleepy, and struggle to concentrate!

While mindless snacking pads your waistline, a thoughtful snacking like munching on nuts, olives, cheese, fruits & vegetables may do just the opposite. Smart choices of healthy snacks, will help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.  So, no worries…….

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I am more delightful in presenting you the following healthy snack-foods. Hope you will enjoy!

Nuts are good, high protein choices. A handful of nuts is an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They are high in protein, fiber, and heart healthy fats. For example, a small handful of walnuts a day, helps reduce your cholesterol and inflammation in the arteries. It is a package of omega3s, mono unsaturated fats and fiber.

Peanuts, too… are heart healthy because they are good source of mono unsaturated fats.

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20 g of plain, dry roasted peanuts will give you 113 g calories, 5.6 g protein, 1.7 g fiber, 1.66 g Vitamin E, 1.36 g saturated fat, 4.8 g mono unsaturated fat,  3.11 g poly unsaturated fat. 

To reap the real benefits of nuts, replace walnuts/almonds/pistachios for bad fats like those in cookies, fries or chips. Toast almonds to enhance the creamy  flavor. Be careful with quantity. A handful of nuts has nearly 110-120 calories! Choose something in a shell, so you have to work harder that slows down munching. Slower eating style, leaves you feel full and satisfied!!

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Edemame, the green fresh soybeans, a tasty appetizer!  It is both highly nutritious and a delicious treat!

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100 g of edemame are packed with 12.95 g of protein and almost 4.2 g of fiber that is equal to two slices of whole meal bread!  A perfect snack all by itself!

Protein rich snacks will help keep your metabolism in high gear.”

An orange contains cholesterol fighting fiber, pectin and potassium that helps control blood pressure. Study has shown that orange improve blood vessel functions and modestly lower the blood pressure through an anti-oxidant called hesperidin. A medium/tennis ball size, orange, is roughly around 62 calories, and with 3 g of fiber. Sounds good for heart!

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Banana, a naturally prepacked goodness, loaded with cramp preventing potassium! 100 g/7-8″ banana is packed with 89 calories, 2.6 g fiber, 358 mg potassium!

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Low-Fat dairy is often touted for bone health, for it is an easy source of calcium and potassium. Skimmed milk provides plenty of protein and calcium. Cold skim-milk keep you full for longer. Yogurt rich in pro-biotics helps fight the harmful bacteria in the intestine. People who are intolerance to lactose can very well tolerate yogurt, for they are low in lactose! Yogurt sounds great for a salad dressing, too!

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The protein in cheese snack will battle the mid-morning hunger pangs.  Smoothies, a bone building goodie!

You get:

  • 69 calories, 4.2 g protein, 3.8 g Saturated fat, and 100 mg Calcium from   25 g of White cheese with thyme and red pepper.
  • 115 calories, 8.8 g protein, 2 g Saturated fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 145 mg sodium, 363 mg Calcium from 250 ml/1 glass of Low fat milk 

Raw Vegetables make an outstanding snack. They are crunchy, low in calorie, with 70-80%  water to help you feel full. Half a cup of diced celery has only 9 calories!  When you are in the mood for chips and dips you can still stay on track!! Just try to replace them with raw vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and baby corns.

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Carrots, the sweet crunchy veggies help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Since carrots are root vegetables that smell & taste sweet, people often stay away from them.  But do you know, carrots are among the lowest-carb root vegetables and they are lower in carbohydrate  than many other low-carb fruits like strawberries?

Yes, a 5-1/2 “(50 g) carrot gives you only 20 calories. Thanks to ample amount of soluble fiber 1.4 g/ 50g, the kind found in oats, that helps control cholesterol!

Soups, the broth-based, not creamy- is dieters’ friend. It is full of water that fills you up with fewer calories. It gently takes up the space that might have gone to higher calorie foods. Great filling!

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Air-popped popcorn is another excellent snack. The air adds volume without the addition of fat or sugar. It is visually satisfying, and also it takes time to eat. Pop corn is high in GI!. So, stick on to the portion size.

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Popcorn, air popped, microwave 1 oz/28.35 g per serving will give you 110 calories, 3.67 g protein, 4.1 g fiber, 93 mg potassium, 0.18 g saturated fat, 0.26 g Monounsaturated fat, and 0.65 g Polyunsaturated fat! 

Snacking is very beneficial towards getting all the essential nutrients our body needs in a day. It is the “variety” that makes the snack more appealing! The wider the range of foods we eat, the more nutrients we get. Regular physical activity to keep a healthy decent weight is also an important part of the lifestyle.

References:

  • Megan A McCrory, and Wayne W Campbell, “ Effects of Eating Frequency, Snacking, and Breakfast Skipping on Energy Regulation: Symposium Overview,” J Nutr. 2011;141:144-147
  • Christine M McDonald, Ana Baylin, Joanne E Arsenault, Mercedes Mora-Plazas, and Eduardo Villamor, “ Overweight is More prevalent Than Stunting and is Associated with Socioeconomic Status, Maternal Obesity, and a Snacking Dietary Pattern in School Children from Bogata, Colombia,” J Nutr. 2009; 139:370-376
  • http://ndb.nal.usda.gov
  • The Complete Diabetes Prevention Plan: A Guide to Understanding the Emerging By Sandra Woodruff, Christopher D. Saudek, 2004
  • Knack Healthy Snacks for Kids: Recipes for Nutritious Bites at Home Or On the Go By Amy Wilensky, Peter Ardito, Susan Byrne
  • Diabetes Snacks, Treats and Easy Eats for Kids: By Barbara Grunes, Linda R. Yoakam R D, M S
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