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To Snack is Human- To Enjoy Healthy Snacks is Divine

Posted by Sunsweet - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Snacking is here to stay and has become a fact of modern life. If snacking in between meals is part of your busy lifestyle, it’s good to know that dietitians today will give you their good nutrition stamp of approval. That is, of course, if the foods and beverages you pick are healthful choices! To find out what those healthy choices might be we enlisted the help of nutritionist Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD.  


Healthy snacking on a budget


The following tips should help us select guilt free snacks while keeping more of our hard earned cash in our pockets:

Reach for Shelf-Stable Snacks
Fresh fruits and vegetables play an important part in healthy snacking. It's best  to plan around what's currently in season because out-of-season fruits and vegetables are sometimes imported, expensive and often tasteless. Dried fruit provides a nutritious and more shelf-stable option year round, which could save money on spoiled food.

Energy
It's easy to grab a biscuit or a muffin when our energy wanes at the office. They may deliver a scrumptious quick fix, but as a habit, they take a big bite out of our budget and our energy reserves. Choosing complex carbohydrates containing fiber helps to keep our energy revved up so we can make it to the gym, the Boardroom, or wherever our energy needs us to go.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important vitamin-like compounds that help support our immune system, promote a healthy heart and slow the aging process. Some antioxidants (water –soluble antioxidants) are not stored by the body and remain in our system for only 4 to 6 hours. It's important to replenish our body with these nutrients throughout the day - including snack time.

Curb Your Appetite
Skipping meals causes us to lose touch with our body’s natural hunger cues. When meal time finally arrives we tend to eat too much and choose the wrong things (because we are so hungry). Factoring in small snacks between meals helps keep our appetite in check, our hunger satisfied, and helps us to make healthier choices at all of our meals.

Stabilise and Energise
Fueling our body with meals and snacks at regular intervals is necessary to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Stable blood sugar not only helps us control hunger cravings, it reduces our risk for diabetes and even helps promote fat loss. The ultimate even blood sugar snack should include complex carbohydrates, along with a little protein and fat.

Calcium
Most  people simply aren't getting enough of this bone-building nutrient. Drinking milk with our meals is one option. Calcium-rich snacks are a valuable back-up plan.

You can learn more about healthy eating by visiting the nutrition section of our website.

5 ways to master the art of healthy snacking

Over the years we have looked at lots of research on snacking behaviours.  We have come to the conclusion that rather than trying to avoid snacks we should just try and pick healthy choices when we feel the urge.  The following tips should help:

Plan Mini-Meals
Think of a snack as a mini-meal and an opportunity to add servings of healthy foods to your day. For instance, three or four whole wheat crackers topped with low fat cheddar cheese and sliced apple provides needed nutrients from the grain, dairy and fruit groups. Adding a protein source (such as cheese, yogurt, or nuts) will help tame hunger longer.

Make it Convenient
Since you are often grabbing a snack because you’re hungry and in a hurry, plan to have healthy grab and go options close at hand. Dried fruit such as Sunsweet prunes can be stashed in your desk drawer, your purse or your car so that you easily enjoy something sweet on the go.  Or how about an individually wrapped humzinger – Who says they are just for kids!

Enjoy What You Crave
But do it the smart way. If you’ve got to have something savoury and crunchy, choose options that meet that need without a lot of fat and calories. If your snack-tooth craves something sweet, reach for fruit instead of sweets or chocolate. Want something smooth and creamy? Choose lowfat or nonfat yogurts instead of ice cream. You’ll get more calcium per serving and save big time on fat and calories.

Keep Size in Mind
Portion control is just as important when planning snacks. So, remember this is just a few bites to tide you over until mealtime. Try to limit snacks to about 100 calories. That could be 1 cup of celery sticks with 2 tablespoons of hummus dip or the sweet indulgence of savouring 4 Sunsweet prunes.

Think About Drinks
Drinks (non alcoholic of course!) can contribute to good nutrition, too. Nonfat milk and vegetable juices are a liquid source of vitamins, minerals and in the case of fruit juices, they can be a source of dietary fiber. So, when choosing a drink for a snack, think about its health benefits, too.