Hunger can strike us anytime anywhere but there are certain times when it is impossible to curb one and you look at your watch. Mealtime? Not yet… At these moments’ snacks come in to play. Snacks have always been looked down upon by us as diet killers or bad for health but they are important part of our diet; as they provide energy for those in between times and prevent us from over-eating at meals. Choosing a healthy snack though is a challenge…
There are lots of options to choose from the counter but not all available snacks can be considered healthy or wholesome. If you are choosing a processed or a prepackaged food as a snack it is a good idea to read the label properly before its consumption. Here are a few tips which can help you in selecting a healthy snack.
- Read the label for its nutritional information. If calories from fat are more than half of the total calories, it is not a healthy choice
- Avoid snacks that list sugar as one of the first few ingredients
- The mentioned portion size should provide less than 100 calories
- Pick foods that are low in fat and sugar and high in fiber
- Natural sweetness in foods and drinks is better than added sugar
- Aim for whole-grain snacks
- Fruit beverages are better compared to carbonated ones; still they are high on calories
- People nowadays swear by roasted snacks. But do check there sodium content as some of them tend to be very high in sodium. Also most of these snacks are not completely oil-free; oil is used to prevent them from sticking together.
Make your own snack and carry it to work
- Fruits and vegetables are good choices for healthy snacks. They are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat which certainly means that an apple is better than a bag of chips. Make your own cocktail of fruit and veggie salad with lemon juice, olive oil or vinegar as dressing
- Store some roasted mixed seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, flax with chana, murmura and chirwa in an airtight container in your office drawer. Being a good source of protein, fiber, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids they serve as a healthy snack.
- Sprouted pulses with crunchy vegetables
- High fibre low sugar muesli
Apart from choosing the right kind of food; portioning is also important to follow a healthy diet. Though it can be hard to measure out every portion of food you eat still there are some simple ways to know that you are eating the right serving sizes. Rather than using weighing scales you may use your hand or other everyday objects to measure portion sizes.
Benefits of in between eating
A regular food intake ensures a constant flow of energy for the entire day and no hunger pangs. Also, our body requires energy even to digest food which we eat; not to miss the energy required by brain to work. So every time we eat, the body is using that extra bit. This does not mean that you can increase the amount of food; rather spread the food you plan to eat in the entire day over these meals. Several researches have concluded that frequent eating keeps blood sugar and insulin levels steady and helps control blood cholesterol levels too.
By spreading your meals in the entire day (5 small meals instead of 3 big meals) you are surely going to make a great difference in the way you look and feel.