with your favorite social networking sites.
A planned snack helps keep your hunger at bay, provides you with the chance to fulfill your daily food group requirements and can be very beneficial to weight management. In fact, to keep your metabolism going, it's better to snack between moderate sized meals than eat larger meals and no snacks. Now we're not talking grazing (i.e. opening a big bag of chips at your desk), but a planned, healthy snack.
One to two snacks a day is perfect for most people. Aim for around 100 to 200 calories per snack, which will easily fit into any meal plan. What are the best snacks? Preferably ones that are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, protein and/or a little healthy fat. This will ensure you will stay satisfied until your next meal.
5 Tips for Smart Snacking:
1. Pack your snacks for the day in addition to your lunch. This will ensure that you won't be hitting up the vending machine last minute. Remember, snacks don't have to come in shiny packages. You can pack a small portion of leftovers - anything from veggies to a leftover healthy breakfast taco.
2. Read the labels. Don't be reeled in by pretty packages and fancy names. Yes, the 100 calorie snacks are totally adorable and convenient but are you choosing something that's nutrient dense? You have to read the ingredient list to find out.
3. Low fat does not equal a healthier snack. Just because the bag of pretzels has a lot less fat than a serving of nuts, doesn't mean it's the better choice. Fat free does not mean calorie free. Of course the more fat that's in the food, typically the more calories, but look at the label to see what nutrients the food is providing you.
4. Be aware of trans fats. Research shows that products with trans fat like junk foods, packaged cookies and chips are the ones that can put you at risk for heart disease. Avoid these products.
5. Don't eat when you're distracted. If you have the chance, eat your snack during your actual break at work. Multitasking often causes us to eat more. It is more difficult for your brain to receive the "I'm full" signal when you're preoccupied.
Examples of Smart Snacks (all under 200 calories):
8 oz low fat or Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon peanut butter on ½ serving whole grain crackers
1 cup fruit
1/4 cup hummus with carrots and cucumbers
3 cups low fat popcorn
1 Hard boiled egg
1 Energy bar
1 oz mozzarella and 1/2 cup grape tomatoes with a little oil and balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup nuts and dried fruit
12 oz homemade smoothie
1 corn tortilla with melted cheese
1 cup unshelled edamame
1 McDonalds fruit and yogurt parfait
1 oz turkey *** with 1 oz whole grain crackers
1 oz tortilla chips (12-13 chips) and 1/4 cup salsa
What ever you choose, aim to eat something you enjoy, that will provide you with some nutrition rather than just empty calories. Remember, the quality of our snack can aid or destroy our nutrition and fitness goals.