Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Outsmart the Snack Attack

Snacks have gotten a bad wrap.  People have said if you want to lose weight you have to cut out the snacks.  It’s not snacking that’s bad, it’s the usual snack choices---cookies, chips, candy bars, dips----high-fat, high-calorie, very little nutrition.   The truth is your body works best when it refuels every 4-6 hours.  So the best way to fuel your body is to eat three well-balanced meals and two snacks.   Snacking can even help you lose weight by taming your appetite so that you don’t overeat at meals or make poor choices because you’re so hungry. 

Snack Facts
Virtually everyone snacks.  Surveys suggest that 99 percent of Americans snack, and 75 percent do so one or more times each day. How much do we spend on snacking? Candy sales, the largest snack food category, garnered over $13 billion in sales in chocolate alone in 2012. Snacking accounts for nearly 25 percent of daily calories, and by the end of one year the average person has consumed over 22 pounds of snack foods, mostly chips, pretzels, puffs and candy. On the positive side, many of our favorite snack foods now come in low-fat versions. Unfortunately, many of these are still high in calories and low in nutrition.

Healthy Snacking
Snack time can be a great way to get in your daily servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Low-fat dairy foods such as milk and yogurt also make healthy snacks.   Keep a supply of healthy snacks in convenient locations. Concentrate on whole-grain and high-fiber carbohydrates and low-fat proteins. Do whatever you can to avoid those high-fat, high-sugar treats that always seem to show up at home, work and social occasions. Healthy beverages can also be great at snack time; water, fruit or vegetable juice, and low-fat milk are your best choices.

The important thing to remember about snacking is that when you eat is not as important as what and how much you eat. When it comes to weight control, the issue is total calories—not when or how often you eat.

How Common Snacks Stack Up

Ice cream (1 cup)
~ 300
~ 15 grams
Candy Bar (2 ounces)
~ 250
~ 12 grams
Mixed nuts (1 ounce or 20 nuts)
~ 200
~ 15 grams
Potato chips (1 ounce or 10 chips)
~ 160
~ 10 grams
Microwave popcorn (3 cups)
~ 150
~ 10 grams
Nonfat fruit yogurt (1 cup)
~ 120
0 grams
Baked chips (1 ounce or 13 chips)
~ 110
~ 1 gram
Pretzels (1 ounce or 9 pretzels)
~ 110
~ 1 gram
Fresh fruit (1 medium)
~ 60
Air-popped popcorn (3 cups)
~ 50
Vegetable (1/2 cup)
~ 25

Plan Ahead
Stock your home, office and workout bag with a variety of healthy snacks so you’ll always have something healthy on hand when hunger strikes. Buy several plastic containers, plastic bags, a thermos and an insulated lunch bag or cooler to make it easy for you to carry snacks with you. Keep a special shopping list to help you remember to stock up on healthy snack foods. Instead of looking for low-fat versions of your favorite processed snack foods, choose foods such as whole-grain breads and crackers, fruits, vegetables, rice cakes and low-fat yogurt.

You can find healthy snack recipes in the recipes area of under the snacks tab like this Healthy Kettle Corn recipe: Healthy Kettle Corn

What is your favorite healthy snack?  Share in the comments below.

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