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Healthy Snack Alternatives

Por Claudia M. González, MS, RD, LD/N* -
Healthy Snack Alternatives

When we get a severe case of the munchies, many of us can go through an entire bag of potato chips in one sitting. And we usually don’t think about the impact this fatty snack has on our bodies.

Often when we snack between meals, we choose foods that contains large amounts of sugar and saturated fats. This could be a result of many things. If we don't bring our own snacks and go to choose something from the vending machine, or even the nearest gas station, the options are usually limited to unhealthy choices. Advertisements also influence our decisions, and the messages we receive tend to be about ready-to-eat snacks, candy bars, and sodas or other high-sugar beverages. Unfortunately, these types of snacks are packed with calories. This is not to say that these types of snacks should never be eaten. They can be eaten now and then. Health problems, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can arise when we eat cookies, potato chips, chocolate, ice cream, and other less healthy choices, more often than we eat healthy food.

Choosing snacks carefully will help manage your appetite and weight. Consider eating dried fruit or raw vegetables as snacks. These satisfy hunger and provide the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed to stay healthy. On top of that, they contain few calories!

Be selective

Healthy and nutritious well-chosen snacks can also taste good. Try these:

  • Fruit is a healthy, convenient snack. Different fruits mature at different times of the year, so vary what you eat according to the season. Fruit is nutrient-dense, meaning, it provides various nutrients and few calories in moderate portions.
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Fresh vegetables supply your body with vitamins and minerals. Combine various kinds of vegetables like carrots, celery, tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce to get a variety of nutrients. Avoid adding high-calorie condiments. This will defeat the purpose of eating this healthy kind of snack.

Plan for success

  • Avoid eating food with little nutritional value and high-calorie content, plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Doing this will help you control your weight.
  • Always keep healthy food in your refrigerator and cupboards.
  • Cook more than you plan to eat and freeze the leftovers. When you need a quick meal, instead of buying some fast food, defrost the frozen healthy meal you have in the freezer.
  • Bring an extra-healthy snack with you when you leave the house. When you feel hungry, you will have a healthy snack on hand.

*Dietitian

 

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