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Healthy snacking habits

Submitted by Sharon Hopkins on November 18, 2010

Healthy Snacking

When you are trying to establish a healthy diet for yourself, you are conscious of everything you eat. You religiously read labels, pour over serving size and portions, and calculate calories at every meal. Since you sweat it out over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, naturally, you want a break when it comes to healthy snacking. Many weight watchers will tell you that this is where they slip up in their diet goals. You should not have to slave over healthy snacking.

However, store bought products may not be the best healthy snacking ideas either. This is because most store-bought snack items contain high amounts of sodium or high fructose corn syrup, food additives, and other supplements instead of natural food products.

Here are a few healthy snacking tips to tide you over and between mealtimes without causing a diet upset.

• For most individuals on a diet, the midday slump can derail you.

However, you can make your own mixed nut mini snack in a jiffy. Use a small plastic container or zip lock bag to mix in your favorite nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashew nuts, pistachios, and dried fruits like cherries and cranberries. With its high fiber, low fat content this is your perfect healthy snack.

However, remember to exercise caution when it comes to quantity. A fistful of mixed nuts is all you need.
• Keep healthy snacks like a bowl fruit within sight. Carry a whole fruit in your bag; you are more likely to reach for it instead of ordering take out.
• The biggest cause of overeating is disregarding healthy snacking tips.

When you allow long periods of hunger before mealtimes, you are most likely to binge. Going hungry between mealtimes may cause a drop in blood sugar levels. Your body tries to compensate by eating too much or eating too much of the wrong food to make up for it.
• Most low fat versions of the original snack cut about 10 to 20 percent of the calories. Do not be fooled by diet claims unless they are significantly lower in calories and fat.
• Do not mistake thirst for hunger. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day or get your quota of fluid intake through soups and juices.
• Think baked, steamed, and grilled instead of cooked, fried, sautéed and that should let you decide if what you are eating is a healthy snack.
• Stay away from food labels that read saturated fats and trans fats, and pay close attention to calories per serving and portion size.
• Your environment also determines your snacking habits and your intake. Remove those chips from a bag and serve it in a bowl. Knowing how much you have already eaten will help you to exercise self-control. Pre-match parties maybe a great idea to get friends and family together, but watching television while eating will only make you indulge. Do not snack if there are distractions around you. Being conscious of what you eat and how much is the first step to losing weight. Similarly, do not eat when stressed, you could end up overeating just to comfort yourself.
• Planning your snacks is as important as planning your regular meals. Most people skip their snacks or hit the junk food aisle because they are unaware of the variety available right in their pantry.

Healthy snack recipes. Mixed dry fruits and nuts made to suit your tastes is one of the healthy snack recipes that will satisfy you without the guilt. Peanut butter spread on multigrain sandwiches or wheat crackers makes great healthy snacking ideas. Peanut butter contains proteins and calcium, while whole grain crackers or bread contain essential dietary fiber.

One more option from a list of the healthy snack recipes includes cutting up and freezing veggies like celery sticks, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower florets, and so on. When its time to snack, you may grab a bunch and thaw in the microwave. Try delicious low fat dips like hummus or Greek yogurt. Air popped popcorn with a dash of seasoning also provides you with fiber and low fat healthy snack.

For quick healthy snack recipes, try blending skim milk or low fat milk with fruits like strawberries, bananas, or plums. Adding almonds or chunks of dry fruit, will give you a robust fruit smoothie that should keep you satisfied until dinner. Low fat fruit yogurts provide you with probiotics essential for digestive health

In this fast world the emergence of fast food and snack food have evolved greatly. Instead of three main meals, many people prefer easy snack foods whenever they get time throughout the day. There are various snacking occasions which includes when at work or desk, when tensed or anxious, specific time of a day, when relaxed sitting at home, or when out with friends for enjoyment. But the question which arises is – Is our snacking healthy?

Snacking depends largely on your age, sex and lifestyle like your daily balanced diet. Snacking on wrong foods often gives you the extra unnecessary calories from fat without fulfilling the requirement of vital vitamins and minerals. Healthy snacking is especially very important and a matter of concern for obese adults. This is because as one grows older a persons physical activity decrease and lifestyle changes, energy expenditure becomes low while intake remains high which ultimately leads to obesity.

It is also necessary to inculcate healthy snacking habits in kids while they are small so that they take these habits in a positive way as they grow older.

Healthy snacking tips

  • Have healthy snack handy at home and carry some when you are out. Avoid buying wafers, junk foods, sweets, chocolates, cakes, processed or packed foods as far as possible so the chance of snacking on them reduces.
  • Prepare some healthy food and place them in such places where in you can reach easily like a refrigerator. You can place dry fruits like dates, raisins, apricots or place cut pieces of fresh watermelon, apple, pear, oranges, or peaches.
  • Choose your favorite fruits for making a fruit salad (avoid adding cream in it).
  • Cut pieces of vegetables like carrots, cucumber and dip them in some flavored low-fat yoghurt. This also serves as excellent healthy snack or finger foods for kids.
  • Whole wheat bread can be stuffed with vegetables to make a healthy sandwich. Replace mayonnaise and butter with hung low-fat yoghurt. Lean meat, egg and steamed tuna also gel well with vegetable sandwich.
  • Cereals along with a cup of low fat milk are wise for breakfast. You can even add fruits like bananas, apples or oranges in it for better palatability.
  • Set a daily time for snacking and avoid nibbling at any other time of the day rather than the particular set time.
  • Spare time from your busy schedule to eat your main meals. This will avoid hunger pangs and thus wrong snacking at wrong time.
  • Choose air popped popcorn with minimum salt, whole grain cookies, oatmeal cookies, low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt, roasted grins and cereals.
  • Avoid snacks that contain fat, butter, sugar and excess salt as these are the major causes for health related issues.
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