Friday, January 6, 2012

Snacks? Yes, please.




It is three o’clock in the afternoon, I’m tired and I need a snack.  This was true when I was six years old and it is true today at 28.  So what do I do about it?
Snacking is one of those things that gets a bad rap.  Probably because we think a snack is a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine, a cookie from the coffee shop or a few mini Snickers from the secret office stash.  Snacking, when done correctly, can be key to maintaining a healthy weight.  Snacks can provide us extra energy to keep moving throughout the day, rev up our workouts, and can keep us from overeating later in the day.  One tip I read in a magazine was to eat an apple before you go to a dinner party because the fiber in the apple will make you feel full, making you less likely to binge.  
Here are some snacks that I am in the habit of eating:
Air-popped popcorn- Popcorn is my favorite snack for the late night munchies.  It is very low in calories (30 calories/cup), so you can eat a lot of it without overdoing it on calories.  It is also high in fiber, so it makes you feel full.  DO NOT cover it in butter.  If you need to dress it up with something, try a small amount of: Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray, parmesan cheese, fresh ground pepper and sea salt, seasoning mix or ground flax seed. This is the air popper we use at home: Presto 114316 04820 PopLite Hot Air Corn Popper
Small/Medium Apple (5.5 oz)-  I’ve found apples to be a great mid-day snack for many reasons.  They have lots of fiber, so they make you feel full and the natural sugars in them satisfies my sweet tooth. Due to the high sugar content they can be high in calories, so make sure you eat a small or medium apple (80 calories). As an added bonus, think about all that vitamin C you are getting!
Baby Carrots-  When I was in grad school I got in the habit of eating baby carrots when I was studying.  I eat when I am bored, and I found that baby carrots were a good alternative to a bag of M&Ms.  There are only 30 calories in ~14 of these babies, so you can munch away without too much worry.  The natural sugars in these help to satisfy my cravings for candy.  Plus, they are cheap.  I used to buy giant bags at Costco for $5.
Yogurt/Milk/Cottage Cheese-  Nonfat dairy products can be a great source of lean protein.  Make sure to read the labels before you buy because some yogurt can be full of fat and sugar/calories.  I am a true believer in nonfat plain yogurt, I eat it everyday (more on that in a future entry).
Here are a few other low calorie snacks that I eat from time to time:
Mini luna bars, rice cakes, V8, beef jerky, raw veggies, hummus, kale chips, whole grain toast, light pudding, hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, pickles, laughing cow light cheese, edamame, bran flakes and watermelon.


*Make sure to read labels, as not all products are created equal.  Slices of whole grain bread can range from 80 calories to 200 calories*

There are a lot of snacks out there that are often considered healthy snacks, but they pack a lot of calories.  You should pay extra attention to portion control of things like: peanut butter, smoothies, protein bars, granola, dried fruit, cheese, juice, salad dressing, avocados, crackers, nuts and trail mix.

Do you have any low calorie snacks that you love to munch on?  
I’d love it if you would share.



2 comments:

  1. you pretty much summed it up, a favorite of mines is papaya with a spritz on lemon. Its really good, or 1/2 a grapefruit with a packet of truvia! YUMMO

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  2. you pretty much summed it up, a favorite of mines is papaya with a spritz on lemon
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