Top 10 Healthiest Snacks : You Can Just Keep on Eating
Your body needs food - its fuel - in moderate doses throughout the day so it always has nutrients available. Having four or five 'mini-meals' daily helps most people prevent cravings and
ultimately achieve and maintain healthy weight.
The choice of a healthy snack
involves - variety, balance, and moderation. Try to limit the snack calories to
100 to 200 calories.
"Try thinking of snacks as foods eaten between meals
rather than as treats or rewards," suggests Barbara Whedon, R.D., a
dietitian and nutrition counselor at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in
Big Benefits from Grazing
Researchers have only recently
begun investigating the possible health benefits of the small-meals-plus-snacks
style of eating. Here is an example of what
grazing can do for you.
Snacking sends pounds packing.
Women who want to lose weight
often skip breakfast as a way to lower their calorie intakes. Studies have
shown that this practice does more than good. Not eating your morning meal
actually makes you more likely to compensate for the missing calories - and then
some - by over-eating later in the day. On the other hand, eating small
meals and snacks more frequently helps you to manage your appetite better, so
you never get too hungry.
Grazing can also keep your
metabolism, or calorie-burning mechanism, running high. Your body uses
calories when you eat and digest food. By consuming smaller amounts of food more
frequently, you can end up burning calories very efficiently. You'll be less
likely to gain weight, even though it may seem like you're eating more than you
Snacking fights fatigue.
When more than four hours go by
between meals, your body's energy supply - your blood sugar, or glucose - dips low enough to allow fatigue to set in. Well-timed snacks give
your body steady supply of fuel, so you're at your best physically and
mentally throughout the day.
Studies have shown that a snack between
2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon can improve cognitive skills such as memory,
arithmetic reasoning, reading speed, and attention span.
Snacking combats high cholesterol.
people who eat six or more mini-meals a day with people who eat the customary
three squares has consistently shown lower cholesterol levels in the nibblers. In one study, consuming six mini-meals a day shaved cholesterol levels by 8
percent, which translates to 16 percent reduction in heart attack risk. To
put it another way, a 1 percent reduction in cholesterol lowers the risk of
heart attack at least 2 percent, according to evidence from several other
Snacking fends off heart attacks.
small-meals-plus-snacks eating strategy can help reduce your risk of heart
attack by keeping your heart's workload during digestion to a minim.
Whenever you eat, your heart has to pump extra blood to your stomach and
intestines to aid the digestive process.
One study demonstrated that meal
size can make a difference in terms of cardiovascular demand. When women
ate 240-calorie of cornflakes and skim milk, their hearts pumped an extra 84
quarts of blood over the next two hours. When they ate a 720 - calorie
meal with added sugar, bread, and honey, their hurts pumped an extra 258 quarts
of blood - enough to fill your car's gas tank five times over. This might
help explain why doctors see an increase in the number of heart attack patients
with in 24 hours after big holiday meals.
THE 10 HEALTHIEST SNACKS
We've ferreted out 10 noteworthy low-fat
noshes recommended by the American Dietetic Association that will more than
satisfy your taste-buds while sneaking in generous amounts of some very
important nutrients. No, cookies, ice cream, and potato chips didn't make
the grade. But we'll guarantee that once you get used to this new way of
snacking, you won't even miss that high-fat, high-calorie fare.
One two - ounce
enriched bagel supplies two milligrams of iron - 11 percent of the Daily Value (DV) - along with good doses of the B
vitamins- niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Instead of topping it with
full-fat cream cheese, try cottage cheese or part-skim ricotta. Their heartiness
makes them more filling than a croissant, and without any type of topping
(i.e. cream cheese, butter, or jelly), they are a reasonable 200 calories.
Widely recognized as a good source of potassium, bananas are also
surprisingly rich in
vitamin B6. One four-ounce fruit contains about 0.7 milligram of
B6, or 35 percent of the Daily Value. A medium-sized banana provides
400 mg of potassium -11% of daily value- and contains 110 calories and
4 grams of fiber. Bananas also contain plenty of carbohydrates which
are the body's main source of energy. They are also easy to digest.
Convenience and nutritional value of bananas make them a good
A tasty way to boost
your fiber intake: One 1 1/2 -ounce muffin provides three grams of the nutrient.
You also take in 1.8 milligrams of iron, which is about 10 percent of the Daily
You get over
half a full day's supply of vitamin C - 41 milligrams, or 68 percent of
the Daily Value - in 1/2 cup of chopped, raw broccoli. This nutrient
- rich veggie offers some folate and
good amount of vitamin A, too. Broccoli also has as much calcium as milk,
and is therefore an important source of nutrition for those with osteoporosis
or calcium deficiencies.
Eat it with low-fat dip.
stellar vitamin C source: One cup of cubed cantaloupe provides
68milligrams of C, or more than 100 percent of the Daily Value.
Eat a single
medium-size carrot, and you'll more than satisfy your vitamin A needs for an
entire day. Just one contains 17,158 international units of A, which is
close to 3 1/2 time of DV.
A 1/2 - cup serving of this filling, flavorful fare provides an
impressive 7 grams of fiber - about 26 percent of the DV. Just be sure that the brand you buy doesn't go
overboard on sodium.
String cheese :
lower-fat variation on mozzarella cheese supplies 250 milligrams of calcium
per 1 1/2 - ounce serving. That's about 25 percent of the DV.
Three ounces of
tuna, canned in water, is an excellent source for your daily requirement for
vitamin B 12. You'll get 2 micrograms of the nutrient, or 32 percent of
the DV. If you
need to add mayonnaise to your tuna, just make sure it's low-fat.
top-notch source of bone-building calcium, with 415 milligrams - about 42
percent of the DV -in every one - cup
serving. Be sure to choose nonfat or low-fat varieties. Plain yogurt
contains one third of the fat than one piece of apple pie does.
Knowing that many fast food choices are loaded with fat and calories, you can
still choose wisely and make eating on the run a part of your healthy diet. Plan
ahead, and arm yourself with a booklet containing nutrition facts for fast foods
or ask the clerk for a pamphlet at the restaurant. You'll be able to choose
foods that will meet your nutritional guidelines and enjoy your healthy snack.
Makes: 12 muffins.
Serving Size: 1 muffin
2 cups raisin bran cereal
1 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with non-stick spray.
Mix cereal, milk, oil, and egg in large mixing bowl. Allow to stand for at least
five minutes. Combine remaining dry ingredients and add to cereal mixture. Stir
until all ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for
15 to 20 minutes.
Nutrition Information per Serving:
22 grams carbohydrate
3 grams protein
4 grams fat
Makes: 4 shakes.
Serving Size: 6 ounces
2 cups nonfat chocolate or vanilla ice cream
1 sliced banana
½ cup skim milk
3 tablespoons malted milk powder
Put measured ingredients in blender and mix on high until smooth. Pour into
chilled glass, garnish with banana slice, and serve.
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
31 grams carbohydrate
0.5 grams fat
Cantaloupe Slush with Mango
A refreshing dessert or snack, this provides each person with more than three
servings of fruit.
Makes: 4 servings.
1 medium-sized cantaloupe
Juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons honey
Peel and seed cantaloupe. Cut into 1-inch pieces. (It should equal about 6
cups.) Place in blender or food processor with lemon juice and honey, and puree
until very smooth. Pour mixture into a shallow 9x12 glass pan and set in the
freezer for two hours.
With a fork, chip and stir the icy mixture and return it to the freezer for
two to four hours.
Peel and cut mango into long, thin, attractive slices, avoiding the pit
(which is shaped like a large almond). Again with a fork, chip the frozen
cantaloupe mixture so it resembles a snow cone or shaved ice. Spoon it into
clear bowls, and top with mango slices. Serve.
Nutrition information per
Saturated Fat 0g,
Calories from Fat 3%,
Saturated Fat 0%,
3 "5 A Day" servings.
Dated 25 August 2012