Today’s on-the-go, 24/7 lifestyle has created a nation of snackers. In fact, about half the nation eats fewer than three meals in a day, according to a survey for Emerald® Breakfast on the go!™ Blends. Instead, people average two meals and three snacks in a 24-hour period. And no matter how health-conscious people are, more than twothirds (69 percent) of people are snacking on what they want vs. foods with the nutrients they need. The good news is, that if you do it right, snacking can help you satisfy your cravings and give your body what it needs.
Snacks can help boost your energy in between meals and keep you from eating too much when you do sit down for those meals. But not everyone is snacking wisely. Nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed said they would be more embarrassed to tell people what they snacked on during the last week than reveal how much they weigh.
Banishing enjoyable snacks altogether, however, may just increase your cravings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says it’s ok to give in to cravings when looking at the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten. The organization says all foods can fit into a healthy eating pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and regular physical activity.
Making some smart substitutions and indulging in the occasional treat can go a long way toward helping you stick to your healthy eating goals. (See sidebar, “What are you hungry for?” for substitution tips.)
Become a Fan of Fruit
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that reaching for fruit can help satisfy a sweet tooth at the same time it gives you nutrients like vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, fiber and phytonutrients. Here are some delicious fruit snack ideas:
—Fruit pops: Freeze pureed fruit or juice in ice cube trays or paper cups with wooden sticks. Try mango, papaya, apricots or orange juice.
—Fruit mix: Mix dried fruits in a zip-top bag: apple slices, apricots, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, pear slices and raisins.
—Frozen chips: Slice bananas, seedless grapes, and/or berries into thin rounds and spread them flat on a baking pan and cover. Freeze and serve frozen as a fun snack.
—Frugurt: Slice favorite fruits to top low-fat yogurt.
It’s easy to get carried away with the size of your snacks. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that 100 to 200 calorie, nutrient-dense snacks can satisfy hunger, keep you on your weight control plan, and make your mouth happy. Here are some great tasting, portioncontrolled snacks that will help keep you on track:
—1 cup sliced bananas and fresh raspberries
—2 cups of carrots
—3 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn
—5 Melba toast crackers, rye or pumpernickel
—2 tablespoons of peanuts
—2 domino-sized slices of low-fat Colby or cheddar cheese
—1 fat-free chocolate pudding cup
—Emerald Breakfast on the go! Oatmeal and Nut Blends
You really can enjoy eating healthier — all it takes is a little snack sense. For more information and money-saving coupons, visit www.emeraldbreakfastonthego.com"
—Family Features. Source: Emerald