Most people think snacks are junk food, though it doesn’t have to be that way. Snacking can be part of a balanced diet. Eating small portions between meals provides the body with enough energy to keep you going throughout the day.
Benefits of snacking:
- Healthy snacks provide fibre and nutrients the body needs.
- Helps curb the feeling of hunger or starvation right before a meal, which prevents overeating. Snacking may help you eat smaller portions and reduce calorie intake.
- Though individual calorie needs vary, the body needs fewer calories as you age.
- Eating smaller meals often may help you stay on track.
Try to keep snack portions small and less than 250 calories. Spacing out meals can help prevent weight gain. The Nutirition Facts Label on packaged foods will help you figure the calories and nutrients that are in one portion size. Sugary and fattening sweets like cookies and candy lack nutrients. Many salty foods, like chips can dehydrate you. These foods should be eaten in moderation.
For healthy and filling snacks, try:
- Fresh or frozen fruit, or a handful of dried fruit, such as raisins.
- Raw veggies – carrots, celery, red and green peppers. Try filling celery with low-fat cottage cheese, or dipping your veggies in low-fat dressing.
- Whole-grain crackers (could be topped with cheese or peanut butter)
- Non-fat cottage cheese or yogurt with honey
- A smoothie (blend non-fat milk and/or yogurt with fruit)
So forget the bag of chips or candy bar and reach for a handful of nuts and raisins. You’ll get extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all for about 50 calories. With proper portions and healthy food choices, snacking can enhance, rather than hurt your diet.