When Snacks Attack
Find new ways to kick up the fun factor in your family’s snacking routine.
They can hit at any time. Those crazy cravings, nutty urges or just plain deep-in-your-gut hunger pangs for something that satisfies. We like them crunchy, chewy, sweet and salty — and though we may not all agree on the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, few could argue that a carefully chosen snack can provide a much-needed energy boost during the busiest of days.
While snacking has the potential to add unwanted calories to your day, it also offers the opportunity to recharge and maximize a healthy diet. The key is to keep snacks moderate in calories while choosing foods that taste great and offer essential nutrients. Think of snacking as your ally in boosting brainpower, fueling active muscles and managing hunger for a healthy weight.
Foods for Lasting Energy
To stay on top of your day, avoid fried foods like French fries and potato chips, and high-sugar candy bars, cookies and sweetened beverages. These foods will pump energy levels up, but drop them down rather quickly as blood sugar levels plummet — leaving you tired and looking for something more.
Choose instead flavorful fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins. These fiber-packed and protein-containing foods will provide energy that lasts.
In general, try to keep snacks at approximately 100 to 200 calories by combining foods that have fiber with those that contribute protein. Together, these foods provide stay power keeping you fuller longer.
Athletes may require additional calories. Fresh fruit is always a good choice for athletes as are whole grain cereals, bagels and sandwich thins (with lean meats or nut butters) — and low-fat chocolate milk is a great recovery food, providing essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, calcium and vitamin D.
Go for 200
The following is a list of healthy snacks at approximately 200 calories:
• 1 cup raw sugar snap peas, baby carrots and red peppers with ¼ cup hummus;
• 10 whole-grain crackers (try Triscuit Thin Crisps) and a low-fat string cheese;
• 1 cup mixed strawberries and blueberries with a 6 ounces of low-fat yogurt;
• 1 Arnold’s Select Sandwich Thin with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter and banana slices;
• 1 apple with 1 tbsp. of almond butter;
• ½ cup of Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal with a 6 ounces of low-fat yogurt;
• 1 hard-boiled egg with a small bunch of grapes;
• 7 Baked Tostitos Scoops filled with small diced avocado bites and salsa;
• 1 ounce of raw almonds (about 23) mixed with 1 tbsp. of dry tart cherries and cranberries;
• 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk with a small banana (for a chocolate fix); and
• 6 ounces of Chobani Greek Yogurt with ½ cup pomegranate seeds (for an extra creamy, crunchy and juicy treat).