When you’re watching what you eat or on a diet, it does not mean that you cannot have snacks. What you can do is to choose the right kind of snack that will satiate your hunger between meals and at the same time get the right kind of nutrients because they are healthy as well.

It’s all a matter of making good choices. Whether you are on a diet or not, here are some ideas on how to have a healthy and hearty snack, without gaining extra weight and feeling awful with yourself:

1.     Take your Fill of Nutrients

It’s always better to make the right choices. In choosing a snack, make it count. If you are not getting enough vegetables and fruits in your regular meals, munch on celery with a bit of yogurt or peanut butter. You’ll get your much-needed fiber as well as vitamins and mineral, satisfy your hunger and avoid packing on the calories from lesser, processed & packaged snacks.

2.     Go Nuts

Nuts are rich in fiber and vitamins and are a quick & healthy snacking option. Almonds for instance are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods. Almonds have vitamin E, magnesium, protein, fiber and healthy fats. They can lower levels of cholesterol and blood sugar as well as reduce blood pressure. Thoroughly chewing almonds make you feel fuller longer, too.

3.     Pair Carbohydrates with Protein

You can have boiled or roasted sweet potatoes, oatmeal, 100% whole wheat bread or pasta paired with apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, oranges, bananas and other fresh fruits. Try roasted chickpeas that already have protein and carbs as well as fiber. Carbohydrates give your brain and body energy while food rich in protein make you feel fuller because your body break them down slowly.

4.     Try Frozen Grapes

You know how difficult it is to eat frozen things. So to avoid getting a brain freeze, you usually try to eat frozen food slowly. Freezing grapes will force you to eat them with care, cutting down on how much you can consume. It’s healthy to eat grapes but they are so easy to pop into your mouth that the tendency is to overeat. The recommended serving is one cup, which is equivalent to 30 grapes. That serving size provides 104 calories and 27 grams of carbs. Eating more than that in  day will increase your calorie and carb intake. Likewise, with the increase in fiber intake, which can cause rumbling in your stomach, it can also lead to either diarrhea or constipation – what I’d call – ‘uncool’.

5.     Dried Fruits

If you are going to travel, by car or by plane, it’s a good idea to bring your own snack food instead of relying on what you can buy on the road or the food served in-flight, most of which are laden with salt. Bring a bag of dried fruits such as apricots, a pack of whole wheat crackers and roasted almonds, which are easy to eat. Drink plenty of water as well as traveling can be dehydrating, especially by air.

6.     Air-popped popcorn

It’s nice to have something to munch on when you’re watching TV.  It’s also very easy to open a big bag of chips as your snack food while watching a good movie at home. If you’re mindful of what you eat, consider air-popped popcorn instead. It will create the same feeling of ‘fullness’ between meals while only costing you a few calories. But even healthy snacking has to be kept in check – don’t overdo it! I’m watching you.

Do remember that snacks are eaten just to tide you over until your regular meal, so you must eat only a small amount or just a single serving. Snacks are meant to give you some calories before a meal. Ideally, you should have about 150 to 200 calories per snack serving. This is equivalent to one cup of melon and 8 ounces of yogurt or one tablespoon of peanut butter (natural) and six whole-grain crackers.

Happy snacking!

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