Just how do snacks fit into a healthy diet?

When we snack “smart”, we decrease our chances of coming to the dinner table completely famished, consequently reducing our risks of taking a second helping. Healthy and well-planned snacks also greatly contribute to our intake of essential nutrients.

In today’s world, with frantic schedules rarely allowing us to eat three meals a day in the comfort of our own home, snacks are playing an increasingly important role in our diet. Granted, snacks can increase the number of calories we ingest quite surreptitiously, especially if we end up in front of the vending machine or in a fast-food restaurant where little nibbles are usually much too high in calories and low in nutrients. Nevertheless, snacks actually do provide certain benefits. For example, they help us control our hunger so we can avoid binging. When we snack “smart”, we decrease our chances of coming to the dinner table completely famished, consequently reducing our risks of taking a second helping. Healthy and well-planned snacks also greatly contribute to our intake of essential nutrients.

You live an active life? You should always have foods you can easily take with you on hand. You need to plan snacks that will help quell your appetite, give you enough energy and provide nutrients that are essential to your system. This is the only way to avoid being kidnapped by the vending machine monster! Here are a few good suggestions for healthy and quick snacks:
- Fruits and vegetables are the obvious number one choice. Although they contain few calories, they are very rich in vitamins and minerals, and are high in fibre. Vary your choices to increase your delight!
- Whole grain foods such as low-fat whole wheat crackers or popcorn without butter are also satisfying snacks.
- Nuts and grains are a great source of protein, a nutrient that will keep you satisfied for many hours. However, as they are rich in calories, they must be consumed in moderation.
- Low-fat dairy products are snacks that also provide calcium and protein. A small piece of low-fat cheese or small serving of low-fat yogurt are good choices. However, as it is usually high in fat and calories, be mindful of just how big a piece of cheese you munch on.

With a little planning and a variety of judiciously chosen snacks, you will be ready to react quickly when your stomach growls long before it is time for your next meal!

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