Written by Constance Brown-Riggs
If you’re like most people the thought of snacking comes along with a bit of emotional baggage. Although you believe snacking can be part of a healthy lifestyle, you also associate snacking with less-healthy items such as chips, crackers, and cookies.
The truth is, snacking can be part of a healthy lifestyle and just about any food can be a snack food – not just those less-healthy items. So, let’s first look at the benefits of snacking your way to fitness and then I’ll show you how.
Benefits of snacking
Research indicates that people who eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day are less likely to be obese or overweight. And that’s not all, other benefits include;
- Sustained energy throughout the day – snacking helps your body refuel after bouts of exercise and physical activity.
- Blood sugar control – people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can actually have better control of blood sugars and decrease the risk of hypoglycemia when eating three snacks daily.
- Improved overall quality of the diet – snacks can supply your body with nutrients like calcium, fiber and phytonutrients that might be low in your diet.
- Control hunger – snacking between meals can curb your between meal cravings and prevent you from overeating at mealtime.
Snacking can be a challenge when you are eating mindlessly. If you eat when you are not hungry or out of emotion, you are eating mindlessly. Typically, when eating mindlessly, your food choices are high calorie, low nutrient foods, often referred to as empty calorie foods.
Smart snacking begins with being mindful about your hunger and then making a healthy choice. Healthy snacks are low calorie, high nutrient foods – known as nutrient dense foods. They give you more bang (nutrients) for your buck (calories). Foods with 20% or more of the Daily Value for a vitamin or mineral are an excellent source and are nutrient dense.
Healthy Snacks Have
Almonds – One Great Choice
Including almonds as part of your fitness plan is not only a smart choice, but also a satisfying one. Almonds provide all the benefits listed above; sustained energy, blood sugar control, improved overall quality of diet, and control hunger. Almonds also provide crunch and good flavor that can help control mindless eating.
Research suggests that almonds are heart healthy, and as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, almonds may reduce the risk of heart disease.
A daily one ounce portion – about 23 almonds, is an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, provides 3.5g fiber, 6g protein, and only 1g saturated fat, all for just 163 calories. Now that’s really getting more bang for your buck!
About the Author: Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN – an award winning registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association – is the author of The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes (New Page Books 2010) and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes (iUniverse 2006). Her work has appeared in books for health professionals and healthcare consumers. She has been a featured expert in national magazines such as Essence, Real Health, Heart & Soul, Diabetic Cooking and Diabetic Living. Visit her Website at www.eatingsoulfully.com , follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/eatingsoulfully and like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/livingwellwithdiabetes