Healthy Low-Fat Snacks
I love breakfast, a small lunch and an even smaller dinner, but mid morning I get a bit hungry as well as mid afternoon and again right before I go to bed. You might say I prefer six small meals rather than three larger ones. So at work I try to keep healthy snacks to keep me going. At home it is a bit more challenging because my grandchildren are always looking for something yummy to eat at Grandma's house.
Being aware of what food is good for you and thinking about your choices are the first steps in making healthy snack choices. Also, if you plan ahead and make sure you have on hand healthy snacks, you will be less likely to be tempted by other snacks when your will power is waning.
Stay away from carbonated drinks. Healthier beverages include:
- Crystal Light
- Diet Lemonade
- Diet Snapple
- Skim milk
Often, we mistake thirst for being hungry. So the best thing to do when you feel hungry is to drink a tall glass of water and then wait 10 minutes. If you are still hungry, then you can eat a healthy snack.
We all need a certain amount of fat in our diet. Low-fat diets lower HDL levels, which may actually increase the risk of heart attack. To ensure a healthy cholesterol ratio, we need monounsaturated and nonhydrogenated polyunsaturated fats. There are a few excellent sources of these good fats including olive oil, canola oil, nuts and avocados.
One of my favorite snacks I take to work is almonds mixed with dried cranberries. The mixture of those two foods is very delicious and satisfying. Nuts are high in vitamin E (an antioxidant that fights diseases), magnesium and fiber. Cranberries are good for your urinary system and of course have vitamin C.
Mid afternoon when I am thinking of food yet again, I usually eat fruit including an apple, orange, grapes, or small banana. Late evening, a cup of air-popped popcorn or low-fat yogurt usually does the trick. An 8 ounce cup of yogurt contains around 150 calories and 2-3 grams of fat. When you are craving ice cream, yogurt is a good substitute.
Another favorite anytime snack is to put yogurt, fat-free milk, half a banana and two to three strawberries with ice in a blender and make a smoothie. You will have to experiment as I did to find the best recipe to suit your taste. The trick is to not add sugar. Try to get used to the natural fruit taste.
And for those of us who just have to have chocolate once in a while, an 8-ounce mug of hot chocolate has 3 grams of fat and 150 calories in comparison to a chocolate candy bar which can have 13 grams of fat and 230 grams. Or you can have one cup of fat-free chocolate pudding. Yum!
Some foods that are low fat have added sugar to make them taste better, so it is always wise to check the labels for added sugar and salt.
If you are marooned somewhere and all you can find is a vending machine, there are actually some snacks that you could choose that are better than the others. Here are a few of them:
- Baked chips
- Sun chips
- Wheat thins
- Low carb pretzels
- Wheat pretzels
- Kashi bars
- Kellogg's healthy bars
- Fat-free animal crackers
- Whole-grain crispbread