Snacks - they can make or break even the most carefully executed diet and exercise plan. But did you know snacks can be especially helpful in shedding pounds or maintaining a healthy weight? A healthy snack can provide many valuable benefits, but it's important to snack smart and make healthy choices for your "meal between meals."
Snacks are an important element of a healthy diet, however making poor snack choices can negate the health benefits. When it comes to making healthy snack choices in between meals, it's important to think of snacks as a very small meal, providing the same nutrients as a normal, balanced meal. Think whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein choices. Eating a healthy, balanced snack between meals can help regulate your blood sugar, helping you avoid energy "crashes" while also keeping you from becoming too hungry between meals.
Regulates Your Energy
Healthy snacks, like whole grains with protein, can provide sustainable energy. On the other hand, sugary and fatty snacks like chips or a candy bar can give you a quick burst of energy followed by an energy crash. Whole grains, like whole wheat crackers, contain complex carbohydrates which take longer for the body to digest. Eat with a protein source, like nuts, for a satisfying and nutritious snack.
Healthy snacking doesn't break a well-balanced diet. In fact, it can actually benefit it by providing even more nutrients, like vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It can also help prevent binge eating, overeating and can help you avoid reaching for fatty snacks or sweets.
Eating healthy snacks on a regular basis can help manage weight, as long as you keep calories and fat in check. It can prevent you from becoming too hungry, which can help you avoid overeating and making poor food choices. It can also regulate your blood sugar and metabolism.
Good Source of Nutrients
Healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables are a good source of nutrients like fiber, minerals and vitamins. You can also choose whole grain snacks, like low-fat popcorn or whole-wheat crackers, which are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Low-fat dairy products like yogurt and low-fat cheese provide calcium and protein.
Increased Mental Clarity
Eating healthy snacks between meals can enhance mental focus at both work and school. Children, for example, are better able to learn and comprehend subject matter when their bodies are properly fueled. Also, adults can benefit from a healthy snack and avoid "slumps" in energy and concentration.
Snacks can be a healthy addition to your diet as long as you make smart choices and stay mindful of your overall calorie consumption. We've included some ideas and tips on how to make healthy snack selections and some examples of healthy combination snacks you can try.