Remember being told never to eat between meals when you were a kid? Well, in my opinion, you can throw that advice right out the window. Snacking, as long as you’re eating the right things, can be key to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as keeping your energy levels up throughout the day.
Snacking probably got it’s bad rap from people associating it with consuming high fat, high calorie treats from vending machines that have little or no nutritional value. If you rethink the concept of snacking by associating it with consuming nutrient packed small portions it makes a lot of sense. Here’s an example. It’s 3:00 p.m. and your energy is starting to dwindle. Lunch was a few hours ago and dinner isn’t for another 2 or 3 hours–it’s an ideal time for a snack. For 100 calories I can have a 1 ounce (mini) muffin or 2 cups of cantaloupe. The mini muffin will only make me want a few more mini muffins to try and curb my hunger. The cantaloupe will provide enough food to satisfy my hunger, plus it’s a great source of Vitamins A and C and is both fat and cholestrerol free.
When you make smart snacking choices it’s also easier to stay focused at mealtimes. Snacks keep me from being ravenously hungry come dinnertime so I don’t overeat. Typically a midmorning snack has the same effect on lunch. You’ll notice that most of our healthy menu ideas include smart snack options. Some ideas include broccoli and cauliflower with hummus, sliced apples and string cheese or a fruit salad with walnuts.
Extend the healthy snacking concept to your children, especially with after school snacks. Bookwork Apple Bark or Banana in a Blanket are fun, healthy, kid-friendly snacks that will hold them over until dinner and give them energy to do their homework.
The Fruits & Veggies–More Matters website has lots of great snack recipes you can try. They’re all healthy options and will keep you fueled without adding extra fat and calories.