On any given day, 90 percent of us snack between meals.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Chosen wisely, snacks can be part of a healthy diet by:
• Taking the edge off hunger so you don’t overeat at mealtime.
• Raising your intake of fruits and vegetables.
• Contributing important vitamins, minerals and fiber.
To make the best snacking choices, think about when and where the urge usually strikes you—then plan ahead.
At home. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole-grain items, and try to include at least two food groups in every snack. Mix and match for small but filling servings of protein and fiber like these:
• A wedge of steamed sweet potato topped with Greek yogurt
• Almond butter and raisins on whole-wheat toast
• Zucchini circles, broccoli spears or red pepper slices dipped in hummus
• Frozen yogurt and sliced banana between two graham crackers
At work. Stash these in your briefcase or desk:
• Whole-grain cereal mixed with unsalted walnuts and dried apricots
• Fat-free microwave popcorn
• Instant oatmeal
• Multigrain rice cakes and mini packets of peanut butter
At play. Whether you’re a soccer fan or golf pro, here are some ideas that can stave off hunger (and help you stay hydrated):
• A fresh pear
• Baby carrots
• A single-serving can of low-salt vegetable juice
• 100% fruit juice mixed with seltzer water
Remember: The best time to snack is when you’re actually hungry. If the notion to nibble hits when you’re bored or frustrated, seek another distraction—call a friend, take a walk or read a magazine.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Institute for Cancer Research; Produce for Better Health Foundation