By: Dr. Shazia Erum (Dietician and nutritionist)
Even if you eat three meals a day, you may still feel hungry. So what do you do? The simple answer would be healthy snacks. But this is easier said than done.
It is important to pay attention to what you eat. Stuffing yourself with a large order of fries may give you a temporary boost, but a snack high in fat and calories will slow you down in the long run.
To keep energy levels up and avoiding weight gain steer clear of foods with lots of simple carbohydrates (sugars) like candy bars and soda. Look for foods that contain complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread and cereals and combine them with protein and calcium-rich snacks.
The general trend these days is to go for foods that are convenient, filling, taste good and if anything helps in weight loss. Examples of such foods include soups, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. At the same time, there is a growing desire for simplicity and wholesome foods. Here are few healthy snacking options from various food groups.
Milk And Dairy Products
Go for low-fat milk, cheese, and plain yogurt. Peanut butter or low-fat yogurt or cheese and a soy milkshake are good choices to balance your nutrient intake. Avoid chocolate milk, ice cream, sugary syrup based milk shakes and artificially flavored yogurt.
Bread And Cereals
Popcorn, crackers, plain toast, pretzels, multigrain bread and corn chips are all healthy choices. Avoid cakes, pies, sugar laden cookies and desserts. Oatmeal topped with raisins is a great option in colder weather. Pre-packaged packets make them portable and easy, all you need is hot water. High fiber dry cereal mixed with dried fruit is also a convenient, potable snacks option. Choose cereals that are low in sugar and high in fiber.
Fruits And Nuts
Opt for fresh fruits, nuts, peanut butter, walnuts, almonds and unsweetened and diluted juices. Nuts and seeds are convenient and offer fiber, minerals, vitamin E and healthy fats. A complete no is a syrup packed canned fruit and nuts, jams,jellies and preserved and sweetened fruit drinks.
A healthy, low calorie and antioxidant rich food. Baked potatoes, steamed carrots, beans, celery sticks, baby corns and peppers are an ideal low-calorie snacking option. There are reduced fat chips and chips made with canola oil. But chips are still the type of snack that people tend to overeat. You are better off eating a real potato. However, avoid fried potatoes chips or candied and glazed sweet potatoes.
Meat, Fish, And Eggs
A healthy choice would be boiled egg salad, roasted or grilled chicken and baked fish. Some other options are protein biscuits, sugarless soft drinks and black tea and coffee. Say no to added sugar drinks, candies, sugar syrups and carbonated sugary sodas. Similarly, high salty snacks should be taken in moderation as well as sticky, sugary snacks which are particularly bad for dental health.