Friday, May 16, 2008

Healthy Snacks - Plan Ahead for Convenience

Healthy snacking? What is that? Is there even such a thing?

I think almost everyone would really like to live a healthy lifestyle but, let's face it, when you're busy and stressed out, juggling hundreds of daily details, it's hard to even know what to have for dinner every night, so a healthy diet may fall to the bottom of your priority list. Healthy snacking is especially difficult when chips and chocolate bars always seem to be handy.

With a little planning, however, you CAN eat healthy and live healthy.

Start by going through your kitchen and taking out all the unhealthy snacks. If you have chips or candy stashed within easy reach, you'll be much more likely to grab that when a craving strikes.

Once the unhealthy stuff is gone, go to the farmer's market or grocery store (when you're NOT hungry) and shop for healthy alternatives. Need some ideas of what should you purchase that is easy, economical and healthy?

This list of healthy snacks is low on the glycemic index, meaning they are low in sugar and won't cause spikes in your blood sugar. Spikes in blood sugar lead to loss of energy and hunger.

Healthy Snack Ideas

To be satisfied with a healthy snack, rather than the unhealthy alternative is to reach for whole foods with the most nutritional value. These fill your stomach and satisfy cravings, keeping you from being hungry. Try keeping these items on hand:
  • Low carb, whole wheat tortillas - add some mustard, a slice of turkey and of low cal cheese, plus a little lettuce, roll it up and you have a delicious snack or even a lunch.
  • low-fat cheeses like individually wrapped mozzarella cheese sticks
  • celery sticks - fill them with low-fat cheese spread
  • cut up cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini or other veggies into bite size pieces so you can grab a handful, put in a plastic container and head out the door. If you need a dip, choose a low-fat, low cal dressing.
  • dry roasted nuts - put them into individual snack bags so you aren't tempted to keep munching. Nuts are high in Leucine, which helps with muscle building and weight loss.
  • apples - cut apples up in a bowl, with a tablespoon of peanut butter. If you want to do apples ahead, mix a teaspoon of lemon or orange juice with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly with the apples. The citric acid keeps apples from browning.
  • Hard boiled eggs - use only if eggs are not restricted on your diet due to elevated . If you do have high cholesterol, add a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon to your daily diet to reduce cholesterol by as much as 50 points within 6 months.
  • Fruit smoothies can be made ahead and taken along, or if you tend to eat out of boredom, making a smoothie will give you something to do and give you a nutritious snack too. Here is one smoothie recipe:
Blend in a blender until smooth:
1 cup low fat, low sugar vanilla soymilk or orange juice
3/4 cup plain fat-free or low-fat flavored yogurt
6 ounces silken tofu
1/4 cup frozen berries

More great smoothie recipes.
  • If you feel the urge to snack, try making a cup of green tea. This gives you something to do and also soothes the nerves. Try a variety of flavors, like chai tea with stevia and soy milk added.
  • Keep high fiber cereal on hand and snack with soy milk or low fat milk added. This will fill you up.

Fruit low on the glycemic index. Snack liberally on these:


Snacks to avoid or eat only occasionally

bread or starchy foods made with enriched flour

These processed foods are high on the glycemic index and contain lots of sugar:

fruit juices or canned fruit

Have Healthy Snacks Ready to Use

Once you have purchased your healthy snacks, prepare then ahead of time so there won't be any excuse not to grab them first. If you don't have time for even this, purchase fruits and veggies already cut up.
  • Clean your veggies. Use a veggie soak to remove all pesticides and chemicals, unless you purchase organic.
  • Peel and cut up enough carrots for several days, cut up celery sticks, wash your apples.
If these are in your fridge, ready to grab, you can toss them into a container and take them to work or on the road, or, if you need a snack at home, it will be ready with no muss or fuss.

If you really need a quick to-go snack, look for granola bars or cookies made by Healthy Choice, South Beach Diet or Snack Well. The only draw-back to these type of snacks is that they are expensive.

Learn Easy Ways to Get Health Benefits of Fruits and Veggies in your Diet

Try Uri Life whole food products to get your recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies.

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