It was once thought that consuming three meals a day was a healthy way of managing weight and nutrient intake – snacking between meals was to be avoided. Today, experts encourage snacking between consuming smaller meals, provided the snack is nutritious.
So, how can you make healthy snacking part of a healthy diet? It’s all in the food choices you make. Nutritious snacks help you get all the nutrients you need to protect from chronic diseases and generally keep you healthy. They also help you feel energized throughout the day, keep your metabolic rate up and help stave off hunger cravings, which are all integral to maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are some helpful snacking tips to follow:
- • Refer to Canada’s Food Guide: This helpful guide lists the food groups we should include in our daily snacks and meals. To get the most out of the food you eat, it’s best to include vegetables and fruits, whole grains, milk products and meats or meat alternatives.
- • Keep portion sizes small: Snacks are intended to tide you over, not replace a meal. At home, stock your pantry and fridge with nutritious snacks that are quick and easy such as single-serve yogurt, fresh fruit, and pre-cut vegetables. Don’t forget that peanuts are a handy grab-and-go snack that is naturally sodium-free.
- • Plan your snacks: Just as you do for meals, take the time to plan your snacks for the week. This will help you stay clear of snacks that are high in fat, salt and sugar. A great afternoon snack is peanut butter on an apple or in a smoothie, and a handful of peanuts can keep hunger at bay until dinner time.
- • Make snacking at work healthy: When it comes to snacking at work, it’s easy to create bad habits. Try planning ahead to avoid falling into an unhealthy snacking pattern by stashing some nutritious snacks in your desk drawer. Trail mix with seeds, peanuts, granola and raisins is a no-fuss option that can be replenished at the beginning of each week.
By following these simple steps, your body will store the necessary nutrients it needs to keep you going and fend off sickness and fatigue. Here’s to smart snacking!
Source: Contact (B.C. community newspaper)