Column: Snack the right way

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, April 6, 2004

By Staff
Snacking. Something we all do but many of us do not do it right.
Americans crunch up more than 448 billion potato chips a year. That is more than five pounds of chips for every person. What about that sweet buttery smell of popcorn? We Americans digest 16 billion quarts a year, which amounts to 59 quarts per person. In the past 12 years snacking has risen 33 percent. But are we really surprised by this number with all of the snack foods out there tempting our taste buds?
All of this crunching and munching has a lot to do with Americans being so overweight. This does not mean do not snack; in fact people are usually hungry every three to four hours. You may end up eating five or six times a day.
Now here is the key to success -- watch what you are eating. I do not mean never have M&M's, but do it in moderation. Know your down falls and stay away from them.
Let's look at a scenario: You wake up at 7 a.m., skip breakfast and at 11 a.m. you are starved. So you grab handfuls of M&M's thinking it will give you energy and get you through the day until dinner. The candy will only give you a rush of energy for a very short period of time, after that wears off you will probably feel worse. Candy also drives up your insulin, which can cause you to binge. People wonder why they do not lose weight when all they eat is one meal a day. Usually it is because they become so hungry that they tend to overeat.
No matter what, there will be times throughout the day where you have a craving for something whether it is sweets, salt, etc…
So what is there to do about it? BE PREPARED!!!
Having a few handfuls of candy here and a couple handfuls of chips can help you rack up an easy 500 calories without even knowing it. Know that this is going to happen and know what you are going to do about it. People may eat an apple or yogurt, but for most of us that is not fulfilling. Plan a snack that is around 200-250 calories, which includes protein, fiber and fat. Let's look at a few selections for a snack.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you use whole wheat bread and low fat peanut butter you will have an excellent snack that will not bottom you out an hour later.
Grilled cheese sandwich. Once again whole wheat bread, fat free cheese slice, low fat butter and you are ready to go. If you do not have an oven available, throw some string cheese in a whole-wheat pita and throw it in the microwave.
Eat your fruit and a few pieces of cheese.
If you like crunchy foods try baby pickles.
A frozen low fat microwave dinner. These things may not fill you up at dinner but they will do the job for a snack.
Have some soft tortilla shells on hand, throw some vegetables and cheese in it and cook it in the microwave.
Soup is always a good choice. You can get vegetables and protein all in one cup of soup.
If you need that fill of ice cream try a frozen yogurt instead.
Regular yogurt with fruit and granola is a great tasting snack.
With these ideas in moderation you should be able to put together a sensible snack.
It all goes back to eating healthy and in moderation. You need all of your meals to be smart ones.
Of course you will have those downfall foods sometimes, but you need not go overboard. Snacks are an essential part of our daily diet. They can help keep us moving and feeling good throughout the day.
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