Snacking is OK...good snacks, that is. In fact, to keep your metabolism revved up, it’s better to snack between moderate-sized meals, than it is to have 3 large meals with no snacks. But the quality of our snacking can aid or destroy our fitness goals.
Here are some good snacks to consider for those ‘between meal’ times when you need a boost:
- 94% fat free butter-flavored popcorn: For only 110 calories, you can have a ½ bag of 94% fat free butter-flavored popcorn (3 tablespoons unpopped). It is low in fat (2g), high in fiber (4g) and protein (4g), and it takes a long time to eat. If your office has a microwave, or if you’re watching some TV after dinner and need a snack…try some popcorn. **Note: Real butter flavored popcorn is not such a great deal on the ‘healthy snack scale’…so make sure to read the nutrition label.
- Cereal: I know snacking at night is not a good idea, but if you can barely muster the willpower to avoid the ice cream – try a bowl of cereal instead! There are many cereals in which a whole cup is only 100-130 calories. What a deal! It’s a good snack, just dry in the bowl. It will also get rid of those hunger pangs, if you eat it slowly in pinchfuls.
- Pickles: Yes, pickles. These salty snacks have just 15 calories for the whole tasty thing. It’s a good, quick super-low calorie snack. In fact, for 15 calories I don’t even bother writing it down in the food log. Pickles are high in sodium so if you have high blood pressure or are watching your sodium intake, this may not be the right snack for you.
- A piece of fruit: An apple, pear, orange, banana can be surprisingly satisfying and hold off the hunger pangs. At or around 100 calories, per piece, fruit is high in nutrients, has low or no fat, and is high is fiber. They come in their own biodegradable wrapper, too, so take one with you when you’re on the go.
- Celery sticks: Celery is high in selenium and is mostly water. Chewing on a few celery stalks may not be something you want to do in your next business meeting, but it’s a great low calorie snack. If it’s too bland for you, try a low-cal veggie dip (use a non-fat sour cream). While veggies and dip is a good snack, watch the dip part as it can pile on the unwanted calories!
- Slushy: What in the world, you might ask? A slushy is nothing more than a cup of fruit juice put in a blender with a bunch of ice. Blend it up and – viola - you’ve got a fun snack that’s no higher in calories than a cup of juice (100-120 calories).
- Popsicle: In keeping with the frozen-snack theme of the item above, the popsicle is a great low-calorie treat. At just 40-50 calories apiece, it’s a good snack to put on top of the ice cream carton in your freezer. You’ll feel like you’re having dessert, but you’ll save yourself from writing down “large bowl of ice cream – 500 calories” in your food log.
Snacking usually becomes part of our daily routine, and can be a good thing…just pick the right thing!
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