Get your snacking fundamentals right! Prepare some healthy snacks in advance, to avoid the temptation of making the wrong choices.
Contrary to what you may imagine, snacking between meals is a healthy habit that can help counter health issues ranging from obesity and diabetes, to high blood pressure. Snacking can also keep you stay alert and energetic, and curb your hunger, leading you to eat less at mealtimes.
What really matters is your choice of snacks. Choose a nutritious snack, and ensure that it is low calorie and low fat. Go for fresh, over packaged and processed foods, and use these guidelines to make your choice.
#1 Avoid so called “healthy” snacks such as Granola bars
Read the label to check sugar content. Though these may contain a certain amount of vitamins and nutrients, they also contain trans-fats, which raise cholesterol levels.
On an average, about 35% of the calories in a granola bar come from fat. The sugar content is also high. So do make sure you check the nutrition facts label before you buy one of these. Or make your own at home by looking up recipes online.
#2 Prepare in advance
Create a variety of snacks for munching and nibbling upon, once a day. If you work in an office, take a boxful of raw vegetables, chopped fruit, nuts, and so on with you. Variety is the spice of life, so be creative with your snacking ideas. A peanut and dry rice mixture, roasted oats, almonds and raisins, or rice crackers are some options.
#3 Make nutritious choices
Nuts, seeds and vegetable based snacks are satisfying and provide a good punch of vitamins and minerals. You can combine these, and get the best of both worlds. Have 10 almonds, or go for peanuts, which contain over 80 nutrients; they are a rich source of Vitamin E, Vitamin B3, antioxidants and monounsaturated fats.
#4 Exercise portion control
Remember, the whole idea of healthy snacking is to ensure you don’t go overboard on calories. If you are going for peanuts, have only 2 tablespoons (100 cals). These can be eaten roasted, salted/unsalted, served with tomatoes and cucumbers in a salad, or eaten raw with onions and coriander.
Roasted and unsalted channa is rich in protein, fibre, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6.The ideal amount of channa to eat at one time is 1/3 cup (94 calories).
Boiled or steamed corn, garnished with lemon juice as a healthy snack as this is a good source of magnesium and zinc. The recommended quantity is 100 grams of corn ( 59 calories).