5 Snacking Strategies for Good Health

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Making wise snack choices is part of maintaining balanced, and healthy meals. Snack is very important in controlling you mid-morning or -afternoon hunger pangs. Some even think that skipping snacks can make them lose weight. Well, this strategy may work for others, but for some people (like me) this may be torture. Feeling hungry at certain times will keep you unfocused and irritated. Besides, you will have a hard time controlling your eating on your next meal, leaving you consuming more than you should be. If you choose healthy, whole-food options, snacks can be an indispensable part of your weight-loss plan. Here are some ways to choose your snacks smarter.

1. Choose a snack that is below 150 kilocalories per serving

You can check this out on the product’s nutrition information. Make sure to properly read the label before taking a chomp. Some products may contain 2 or more servings, thus if you finish the whole package, you consume twice or even more than what you planned. Sweet baked goods are definitely out as it contains more than 200 kilocalories per serving.

2. Avoid trans-fat at all cause

Again, this is very easy to spot and is very important to your heart’s health. Trans-fats raise the LDL- cholesterol (or the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol (or the ‘good’ cholesterol) and make you more likely to develop heart disease. Highly processed foods such as canned goods may contain trans-fat. You can check this out on the nutrition facts at the back of food product.

3. Must contain fiber

I cannot exemplify more on the benefits of consuming fiber. Beyond its role in gut health, fiber can also control sugar and cholesterol in your blood, protecting you from a wide array of inflammatory diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Fiber can be found in vegetables and fruits. Thus, inclusion of vegetables sticks like carrots and celery, and fruits wedges like oranges and apples, to your choices of snack may improve your health. Fiber-rich snacks can also make you fuller and control your hunger.

4. Must contribute to your micronutrient requirement

A wise choice of snacks must not only fit your caloric allowance but must also contribute to your vitamin and mineral requirement. Again, whole foods like vegetables and fruits are jammed pack with micronutrients that will maintain your overall health. Nuts and whole grain products also contain substantial minerals and are a good option for snack. Empty-calorie foods like chips and sweets will give you less micronutrients and more of the calories. If the item is packaged, check its nutrition fact. A good source of nutrients will provide 20% of your daily requirement.

5. Must avoid more than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving

Hypertension is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines. Frequent high intake of sodium-rich foods may lead to the development of hypertension. The World Health Organization encourages consumption of less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium or 5 grams of salt per day. Thus, an allowance of less than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving of snack will help you keep track of your sodium intake.

It is very important to be mindful when planning to snack. Our mind has a hard time distinguishing hunger from thirst. Hence, when you feel hungry, try first to drink a glass or water then observe if you are still hungry after a few minutes. It is also critical to eat your meals at a regular time, so that you can regulate your food intake particularly between meals. Furthermore, remember that you can pack your own snack. This way, you take charge of what you eat throughout the day and prevent your hunger to control you. So, the next time you feel hunger, grab a handful of nuts or vegetable sticks to munch on.


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Karen Ramos