Healthy snacks are an important part of a balanced diet. Most nutritionists agree that one should snack between meals and recommend the same. The key to healthy snacking is wise food choices. An ideal healthy snack should provide a good combination of complex carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Reasons to snack-
A healthy snack keeps hunger at bay and also prevents over eating at your next meal. It helps the body’s metabolism and increases your energy levels.
Adding the right snacks between meals helps increase concentration and performance both at school and at work
Snacks help avoid the starvation switch, which occurs when your body goes without food for longer than 4-6 hours. The body’s metabolism slows down and the body reacts to this by conserving energy for later use. This can be avoided by eating at regular intervals.
Healthy snacking ensures normal blood sugar levels, and prevents the blood sugar spikes and dips. The type of snack is very important as a sugary snack does not provide sustained energy. After the initial spike in blood sugar levels it causes a dip and leaves you feeling hungry and lethargic.
– Choose nutrient dense snacks
– Count the calories
– Timing is important
– Keep portion control in mind while snacking. Serve yourself a single portion on a plate; avoid eating out of a bag or a box.
– Snack only when you are hungry, avoid snacking when bored, frustrated or stressed.
– Plan snacks ahead of time. Keep a variety of nutritious snacks at hand.
– Avoid highly processed foods that are high in refined flour, sugar or corn syrup, opt for nutrient rich high fibre snacks.
– Snacking should not replace a meal. Meals and snacks should be spread out by atleast two hours.
– Snacks should contribute to a couple hundred calories or less, not more than that.
Healthy snack options
– One sliced medium apple with one tablespoon of peanut butter.
– 1 cup low fat fruit flavoured yogurt or plain yogurt.
– Fruit smoothie – blend 1 cup skimmed milk + ½ banana + ½ cup strawberries
– 1 bowl mix fruit salad or fruit chat
– 1 slice whole grain bread with 1 tbsp. Peanut/ almond butter
– Trail mix (30 gm whole grain cereal + 1 tbsp. Raisins and unsalted nuts)
– ¼ cup dry apricots or dates or figs
– ¼ cup unsalted nuts and seeds
– Baby carrots + 2 tablespoons hummus
– Low fat yogurt with granola
– Energy bars or granola bars
– Sprouts chat