Chances are you grew up thinking of snacking as a "no-no" …something you did even though you knew better. Images of children sneaking a treat from Mom's cookie jar come to mind.
If you haven't curbed the habit yet, you are not alone. You'll be relieved to know that it's okay to snack. Between-meal energizers are especially important for growing youngsters, active teens and pregnant and nursing mothers. Snacking can be helpful - it can actually keep you from overeating at mealtime. The key is choosing foods that are not just pleasure-packed, but loaded with important nutrients as well.
Most people consume all of their calories in a couple of meals daily. Meal skipping is common, and lots of people don't eat in between meals. It is much healthier to eat several smaller meals throughout the day, and research proves it.
A study was conducted at the University of Toronto and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on the benefits of grazing. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups - each group was given identical amounts and types of food. One group consumed the food in three meals per day, while the other group divided the food into 17 mini-meals per day.
After only two weeks, the nibbling diet was found to lower blood cholesterol by 15%. Cortisol, an indicator of stress, was reduced by 17%. Nibbling keeps blood glucose levels even, helping to avoid the extreme peaks and valleys that occur before and after big meals. The blood insulin levels of the nibblers were also reduced by 28%.
When you reach for a snack, it's often the food's characteristics that appeal to you rather than the food itself. Snacking is a good idea - when you're hungry - and if you make healthy choices. Included in this article are some suggestions for healthy snacks categorized for you into three groups - crunchy, sweet and salty (the three types of snacks people usually desire).
If you're in the mood for something crunchy: healthy crackers, carrots, celery, red/green/yellow peppers, raw nuts, zucchini, radishes, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you're in the mood for something sweet: fruit, raisins, frozen grapes, fig bars, healthy cookies and snack bars, healthy graham crackers, English muffin or bagel with spreadable fruit. If you're in the mood for something salty: pretzels, popcorn, baked tortilla chips, baked potato chips and dry roasted soy nuts.
The next time you get the munchies, first consider the merits of the food. Snacks made of familiar, wholesome foods, with minimal processing contribute needed protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Soft drinks, chips, and candy, contain calories but little else. Try to avoid them along with popular snacks that are fried.
Having the right stuff on hand is very important for making fast, healthy snacks. If your snacks are based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with a little dairy and lean protein, you will be on your way to better health. Of course you will want to watch your intake of salt and saturated fat to keep your heart healthy.
So, it is not just what you eat, but how you consume it that is important. The benefits of eating healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grain cereals, are both healthy and enjoyable.
Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles are written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.maryellajuiceplus.com