For almost anyone trying to watch their weight, choosing healthy snacks can be a challenge.
Even though snacking has developed a "bad image," snacks are an important part of your diet.
They can provide energy in the middle of the day or when you exercise. A healthy snack between meals can also decrease your hunger and keep you from overeating at meal time.
There are many snacks to choose from, and certainly not all snacks are healthy or help you manage your weight.
If you are not sure if a snack is healthy, read the Nutrition Facts label. If the calories coming from fat are more than half of the total calories, it is not a healthy choice.
Pay attention to the portion size given on the label. It’s easy to eat more than this amount. Avoid snacks that list sugar as one the first few ingredients.
Other factors to think about:
Fruits and vegetables are good choices for healthy snacks. They are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat. Some crackers and cheeses also make good snacks.
Some examples of healthy snacks are:
Put snacks in small plastic containers or bags so they are easy to carry in a pocket or backpack. Putting snacks in containers helps you eat the right size portion. Plan ahead and bring your own snacks to work.
Avoid junk-food snacks like chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream. The best way to keep from eating junk food or other unhealthy snacks is to not have these foods in your house.
It’s OK to have an unhealthy snack once in a while. Never allowing any unhealthy snacks or sweets may result in sneaking these foods. The key is balance and moderation.
If you are having a hard time finding healthy snacks that you want to eat, talk to a nutritionist or your family’s health care provider for ideas that will work for your family
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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