Healthy Snacks Tips
We have noticed that often times, the so called ‘fat-free‘ healthy snacks available in local super markets are anything but healthy. The unsuspecting consumer (like we were once upon a time) easily falls for these advertising jargons. Without even batting an eyelid, we reach out for the most ‘healthy looking‘ packages. This has become a habit and it is time we change this. Looks can be very deceiving in the world of supermarket ‘health food’.
Read Nutrition Labels : Look before You Leap
The very first step we believe is to start reading labels on packages. Once you have mastered the art of decoding food labels, you can easily lower the fat in your diet. This will make a big difference when selecting your healthy snacks for weight loss. Being able to tell which products are truly low in fat and which products are trying to cheat you by camouflaging fat content has become a survival skill required in today’s times where the markets are flooded with processed food. So next time you are out shopping for healthy snacks to eat don’t forget to read the labels.
‘Fat Free’ Snacks : Devil in Disguise
Can you imagine anything better than ‘fat-free’ cakes and cookies? Well, we are sorry to burst this bubble but not all ‘fat-free’ is healthy. Also ‘fat-free’ is not a license to unlimited consumption as most of us believe. More sugar is added to these than ‘regular fat’ cookies and cakes which can in effect result in a higher calorie intake. Which means ‘fat-free’ products could make you gain more weight. Once again, the key point to note here is to read the nutrition labels when selecting the best healthy snacks. We cannot stress enough how critical this skill is.
Fruits and Vegetables : Friends for Life
Incorporating fruits and vegetables abundantly in your healthy snacks list is highly crucial as they are a major source of fiber, nutrients and other essential vitamins. Always maintain a good variety of fresh food that are easy to keep. Grapes, Apples, Oranges, Melons, Bananas and Grape fruits are some good options. You can also pop these into the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer and these can be enjoyed as a delicious frozen fruit snack. Frozen fruit can also be added to smoothies for a flavor boost. Dried fruits and fruit juices are the other ways to include fruits in your diet. From the vegetable world carrots are your most versatile friend. These are delicious raw as well as in salads, soups and as fresh carrot juice. Our personal favorites from the vegetable world are carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. We love munching on these vegetables raw. These are perfect choices when selecting healthy snacks for work or simply healthy snacks on the go. Tomatoes and cucumbers are rich in water content and nutritious with low sugar. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, variety is the keyword.
Oil : Less is More
The next major step you can take to start seeing immediate results is to reduce the amount of oil in your cooking. Substitute oil with vegetable or chicken broth or just plain water for sauteing vegetables. You can even do this to caramelize onions. It may seem unbelievable, but it is true. You just need to ensure fast movement and enough liquid (water or broth) to ensure it does not stick to the pan. Also reduce the amount of oil you would normally use in your salad dressings. Substitute it with lemon juice, vinegar, fruit juice or broth.
Whole Grains : More the Merrier
It is important to ensure that you include whole grains in your diet. We may already be consuming grains on a daily basis but it is time to review whether these are ‘whole grains’. If you actually check, you will see that the most common and widely available food in our diet is ‘refined’ grains and not whole grains. Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber, antioxidants, complex carbohydrates and nutrients as the bran and germ have not yet been removed. Try to include whole grain bread, pretzels and crackers when considering options for the best snacks. Making a fresh vegetable sandwich with whole grain bread is a quick and filling snack option. Be careful when buying whole grain goods. What may be advertised as whole grain in the front of the package may not really be 100% whole grain. It is very important to carefully read the ingredients and nutrition labels behind the package to confirm this. Also, not all bread that is brown in color is whole grain. We must be careful to not fall for any of these marketing gimmicks.
Also, try including a spoonful of wheat germ in your snacks as this can do wonders for your body. This tiny flaky food is a nutrition powerhouse. It more nutrient dense than any fruit or vegetable. Your can add it to your sandwiches, salads or smoothies. The only downside is that it is high in calories. But the protein in it can keep you feeling full longer, in turn reducing your over all calorie in take.
Drinks : The ‘Unconventional’ Snack
Most people generally tend to think of a snack as something to munch on. Personally, we believe that a snack is anything you consume between your regular meals, be it solid or liquid. Drinks can be pretty filling snacks just as their solid counterparts. Lemonade can be a perfect substitute for your regular soda drinks. You can even substitute water with soda in your lemonade to satisfy your craving for fizz without the added calories of a branded soda drink. Your regular sugary soda drink from the store leaves you dehydrated and thus craving for more. Also, they are loaded with sugars (even more so in the ‘diet’ versions of these drinks) which means more calories and have no nutritional value.
Another diet change you can introduce in your list of snacking options is to replace milkshakes with smoothies. It is best to blend your own smoothies at home. This way you have control over what goes into it and you can make it as healthy as you like. We love ours with Greek yogurt, strawberries, bananas and mint leaves. You can choose any fruit you like. Experiment with fruit combinations. Be adventurous, you could discover some really tasty combinations. These are very satisfying liquid snacks that can keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. Try to keep your smoothies as simple as possible which makes it a healthier snack option.
Also be very careful of the ‘fruit’ and ‘vegetable’ juices that you buy at supermarkets. Make sure they are 100% real juice otherwise you are just once again downing several liters of sugar and other artificial ingredients which are anything but healthy.
Out of Sight : Out of Mind
This is one of the most important points we would like to share here. It is always a good idea to keep healthy snacks within view, such as, on the kitchen counter-top or the dining table, so that we always remember to reach out to these when we are craving something between meals. For most of us, ‘out of sight-out of mind’ is a problem when it comes to choosing healthy snacks.
Snacking is human nature. Don’t deprive your self and feel miserable about it. This will only make it all the more difficult to stay on the path to building a healthy life style. Our motto is : Snack Smart
Cheers to Good Health!