Quite often, people have incorrect views when it comes to healthy snacks or being on a healthy diet. Eating healthy does not mean that you are depriving yourself of food, it is being aware of what is good and bad for you, and taking precautions to avoid diseases and other health hazards, and living healthy and eating healthy.
In the past, snack foods has come under rap as it is associated with food that people go on a ‘binge’, as it is commonly termed. But research has revealed that eating four to five healthy snacks a day to the usual diet of three main meals per day, cuts cholesterol level by 8% and reduces the risk of heart disease by 16%. Healthy snacking also helps prevent over-eating and also keeps the metabolism at work and thereby burning unwanted calories. It helps fight fatigue and keeps the blood sugar at a normal level.
The following healthy snack choices have been gathered for your benefit. It is important in selecting foods that contain the adequate nutrients and energy required for the body.
· Whole grain snacks are rich in fiber, and selecting low fat whole-grain crackers and whole grain crisp breads will give the required energy. A 200 calorie Bagel contains the 11% of the recommended iron. A Bran Muffin has three grams of fiber and 1.8 mg of iron, which is 10% of your daily intake.
· Fruits – Banana rich in potassium (11%) also contains 35% of daily intake of Vitamin B6. Cantaloupe rich in vitamin C, gives you the required amounts of vitamin C required for the body. Fruits and vegetables will provide vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which are essentials for healthy living.
· Nuts and seeds are high in protein and calories. Eating in small quantities is advised. Nuts are rich in fiber, phyto-nutrients and anti-toxidants.
· Raw vegetables, such as celery, carrots, green beans and cucumbers with a low fat dip are excellent healthy snacks.
· Fresh fruit juices and smoothies, unsweetened are a must with your daily breakfast.
· Yoghurt is a versatile food and a healthy snack. It also can be used as a dip, mixed with vegetables as a dressing. It is rich in potassium, protein and calcium.
· Popcorn contains 93 calories and less than 1.5 grams of fat. It also contains Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Magnesium and Fiber.
· Greens and Salads are a must for the day. Farm fresh salads are a good substitute to your mid-day meal.
· Daily cereal and low fat milk, at the start of the day, will give you the required calcium and nutrients to keep you going.
· Toasted bread, with chicken, tuna and fish is not only a tasty snack but will also help you get your proteins and calcium requirement.
It is important that you know your limits and nutritional values of your snacks. Keeping in mind that snack calories too count in your total requirements of calories for the day is vital, for healthy living and life-style.