Eating healthy does not mean not eating. It definitely does not mean that you have to avoid snacking. Eating snack foods can be an important part of any weight-loss program or healthy diet. Consuming healthy snacks throughout the day boosts your body’s energy level and maintains your blood sugar appetite levels. Healthy snacks will help you avoid overeating at mealtime. Many foods serve as non-fattening and nutritious snack foods.
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Vegetables make a great snack food. They are not only fat-free and low in calories, but they are full of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Vegetables are best eaten raw because the nutrient content is not altered and no fat or cholesterol is added. Carrot sticks, celery, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and mushrooms are some examples of snacks. Dip them in your favorite low-fat dipping sauce or hummus, or make a salad with vegetables and a low-fat salad dressing.
Fruits are rich in nutrients and low-fat. Snacking on fruits can help you meet your recommended five-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables. You can snack on fresh fruits such as blueberries, grapes, strawberries, oranges, pineapple, grapefruits, apples, kiwi and bananas or sugar-free dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, cranberries, figs, papaya or mango. Or you can choose frozen fruit, fruit salad, fruit leather, popsicles or low-fat fruit smoothies.
Low-fat or fat-free cheese, skim milk, yogurt, cottage cheese pudding and frozen yogurt are good choices for a non-fattening snack. Dairy products are a source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as protein. Snacking on these foods will provide you with calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and protein, which helps you feel full for longer. Choose low-fat or light varieties of each of these foods because they are lower in fat, sugar and calories.
Whole grains provide many vitamins and minerals, as well as complex carbohydrates and fiber. Eating fiber-rich foods will increase your satiety and energy level. When selecting whole-grain snacks, choose products with low fat and sugar. Healthy whole-grain snacks include rice cakes, cereal, English muffins, crackers, popcorn, pretzels, graham crackers, cereal bars and granola. Add milk or fruit for a more fulfilling, nutritious snack.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain protein and omega-3 fatty acids. While they are nutritious and help you feel full, they are high in calories and fat. For this reason, you should only eat one serving, which is only a few teaspoons. Peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are some options and can be coupled with any fruit or vegetable for a wholesome snack.
The best beverage when snacking is water. Water quenches thirst and does not add any fat or calories. Other beverage choices include decaffeinated coffee or tea, diet soda, soy or rice milk, skim milk or seltzer water. The key to beverages when snacking is to choose those containing minimal calories and fat. Then, you can consume your calories from food that provides your body with more sustenance.