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Grab and Go Snacks

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As I’ve mentioned before I receive a lot of questions about snacks, healthy snacks.  Anybody can go into a convenient store and buy a snack, but here’s the question, is the snack helping reduce your waistline or adding to it?  The other question I get about snacks is this, “Why do I need to eat snacks?”  Snacks help bridge the gab between your main meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If those are the only meals you are eating in a single a day, then you’re probably starving when you eat those 3 meals.  What happens when you sit down to eat a meal and your starving?  Yep, you got it, you stuff your face with whatever you can find to stop the hunger.  By adding low calorie, healthy snacks to your daily eating plan you help reduce cravings and keep yourself from over eating, especially at lunch and dinner.  Healthy snacking can also help with keeping your blood sugar from spiking, which has been researched to cause excess belly fit.

So, when I was doing some research the other day I came across this great article from fitbie.com and I thought it would help to answer many of the questions about what healthy snacks are easy and available.

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks

When you’re hungry and in a hurry reach for one of these quick, easy, and nutritious eats
By Mary Squillace fitbie
Snacking can be a valuable part of a healthy eating planregular munching keeps blood sugar levels stable and can help prevent overeating later in the day—but the extent of these benefits depends on one crucial variable: the kind of food what you put into your mouth. Down a sugar-coated doughnut mid-morning or a greasy bag of chips at 3 p.m. and your “healthy” snacking routine is actually a belly-expanding, energy-zapping habit. A better idea: Nibble on nutritionally balanced 100- to 200-calorie snacks that contain some carbs, protein, and healthy fats. How much you eat depends on your activity level, but be sure to listen to your hunger cues. Read on for 15 quick and healthy ways to fuel your day.The following snacks are from Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet, and Michelle Dudash, RD, and a professional chef and recipe developer in Phoenix, AZ.

1. Large Whole Grain Cracker with Goat Cheese

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // cheese and crackers c Thinkstock

(1 large cracker, 1 ounce of cheese)
“When you look at the cracker’s ingredients, you want to see “whole grain” or “whole wheat” flour. If the label says “enriched” it contains white flour,” Dudash says. Unlike white flour, whole grain flour contains fiber, which helps you feel satiated. Smear your cracker with an ounce of goat cheese (about the size of a golf ball) to add protein to your snack. Bonus: Goat cheese—especially the spreadable kind—tends to be lower in total and saturated fat than most cheeses.

Image: Thinkstock

  2. Greek Yogurt

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // Greek yogurt c Thinkstock

 

(1 container, 6 ounces)
Mix plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit to take in several grams of fiber for a fraction of the sugar you’ll find in flavored varieties—which typically contain less than a 1 g of dietary fiber and as much as 20 g of sugar per 6-ounce serving. But if you’re in a pinch for time, Gans says it’s okay to reach for a fruit yogurt. Just make sure you choose Greek yogurt. Even though you’ll be getting a hefty dose of sugar, you’ll at least be getting substantial protein (a whopping 14 g, and more than twice what you’ll get from other types of yogurt. “Greek yogurt is a powerhouse. It has so much protein,” Gans says.

Image: Thinkstock

3. Nuts

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // nuts c Mitch Mandel

(1 ounce)

An ounce of nuts packs tons of protein and fiber, as well as heart-healthy fats that can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and magnesium, which may help prevent type 2 diabetes. You can nab all of these benefits without consuming too many calories if you stick to the proper serving size. Try 30 pistachios, 23 almonds, or a mix. “The rule of thumb is [that a serving is about the size of] a shot class,” Gans says.

Image: Mitch Mandel

 

 4. Nutrition Bar

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // nutrition bar c Thinkstock

There’s no shortage of energy bars to choose from when you’re on the go, just be sure to shop smart. “Look for bars that contain less than 200 calories and compare the nutritional labels,” Gans says. You want to go with the bar that offers more fiber, less sugar, and adequate protein (about 5 to 10 g). In the ingredients list look for more natural sugars—for example, evaporated cane juice or honey—than added sugars. Also, look for nuts to ensure the bar’s fat content is from a healthy source. “I like Kashi bars,” she says.

Image: Thinkstock

 

 

 5. Hard-Boiled Egg

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // hard-boiled egg c Thinkstock

(1 egg)
At only about 70 calories, an egg is a protein-rich, low-calorie bite. The yoke is high in choline, which may lower cardiovascular disease and breast cancer risk, and also contains leutine, which promotes eye health. Boil a bunch at the beginning of the week, then when hunger strikes peel an egg for an easy, nutritious snack.
Image: Thinkstock

 

6. Dry-Roasted Edamame

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // Dry-roasted edamame c Thinkstock

 

(1/4 cup)

A quarter-cup serving contains only 130 calories and packs about one-third of your daily recommended fiber intake and 14 g of protein. “It’s high in fiber, high in protein, and makes a fabulous snack,” Gans says. And, unlike steamed edamame, it’s ready to go—you don’t have to take the time to peel each pod as you eat.

Image: Thinkstock

 

7. Glass of Chocolate Milk

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // chocolate milk c Mitch Mandel

(8 ounces)

Quench your thirst and stifle your sweet tooth with a glass of low-fat chocolate milk. It’s a perfect postworkout snack because of its mix of protein, carbs, sugar, nutrients, and electrolytes. Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research indicated that athletes who drank low-fat chocolate milk following exercise had improved training times, more muscle, and less fat than those who stuck with typical sports drinks. Similarly, a Canadian study found that milk rehydrated children after exercise better than water did.

Image: Mitch Mandel

 

 8. Snack-Size Cottage Cheese and Fruit

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // cottage cheese and pineapple c Thinkstock

(4 ounces)

“Eat snack-size cottage cheese with a banana,” Gans suggests. A number of brands sell single-serving 4- or 5-ounce cartons, which can help control portions. “I recommend a low-fat choice—it doesn’t have to be fat-free because a little fat helps keep you full.”

Image: Thinkstock

 

 

9. 100% Fruit Pouches

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // fruit puree pouch c peterrabbitorganics.com

 

(3 ounces)
An individual, squeezable packet of pureed fruit is better for you than fruit juice and is great on the go, says Dudash. Each portion is made from pureed whole fruit and sweetened with juice concentrate, so it contains no added sugar. Some pouches even contain vegetables. While you won’t get as much dietary fiber as you would from a piece of whole fruit or a serving of vegetables, a packet still provides a helping of vitamins and minerals at about 70 to 90 calories for a 3- to 4-ounce serving.

Image: peterrabbitorganics.com

 

10. Chinese Snack Mix

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // pistachios, peas, sesame sticks c Thinkstock

 

(1/2 cup for a mix with in-shell pistachios, 1/4 cup for a mix with shelled pistachios)

Mix pistachios, Asian sesame sticks, and wasabi-covered peas for a tasty and healthy treat to have on hand. “It offers a nice balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, and provides three different food groups,” Dudash says. You’ll get several grams of protein from the pistachios, a serving of grains from the sesame sticks, and fiber and additional vitamins from the peas.

Image: Thinkstock

11. Individual-Size Cheese with Fruit

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // string cheese and grapes c Mitch Mandel/Thomas MacDonald

 

(1 ounce of cheese)
It can be tempting to overeat if you don’t carefully control your portions, which is why Gans suggests individual-size cheeses paired with fruit. Both snack components come already portion controlled, and together give you a mix of protein and carbs. “Laughing Cow Mini Babybel and string cheese are two types I always recommend,” she says. Go for reduced-fat varieties to avoid excess saturated fat.

Image: Mitch Mandel/Thomas MacDonald

12. 100% Tomato Juice Cocktail Beverage

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // vegetable juice c Thinkstock

 

(8 ounces)

Just 4 ounces of juice provide a full serving of vegetables. “Make sure you look for juices with lower sodium,” Dudash says. You should be able to find some with 140 mg of sodium or less per serving. “You can throw in hot sauce or lemon juice to perk up the flavor.”

Image: Thinkstock

13. Whole Wheat Tortilla and Hummus Roll-Up

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // hummus and tortilla c Thinkstock

(1 tortilla, 1 tablespoon of hummus)
Slather hummus on a tortilla, roll it up, and you’ll be on your way with a fiber-rich snack. “The first ingredient in hummus is chickpeas, which provide fiber and a little protein,” Dudash says. Choose a tortilla that’s 100% whole wheat.
Image: Thinkstock

 

14. Whole Wheat Breakfast Cereal Mixed with Dried Fruit and Almonds

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // cereal with dried fruit c Thinkstock

 

First, choose a cereal like whole wheat Chex or Quaker Oatmeal Squares that is made with whole grains. “There are so many great whole grain cereals, so don’t even bother with ones made with white flour,” Dudash says. Then mix it with almonds and dried fruit. “Look for a dried fruit with no added sugar. Dried apricots and raisins are typically good choices.” Your snack-time concoction will contain plenty of fiber from the cereal and protein from the nuts.

Image: Thinkstock

 

 

15. Brown Rice Cake with Nut Butter

15 Healthy Grab-and-Go Snacks // rice cake with nutbutter c Thinkstock

 

(1 rice cake, 2 tablespoons of nut butter)
A brown rice cake has about 35 calories, which makes an extra light and airy foundation for your snack. Improve the nutritional value by spreading your favorite nut butter on the cake. “If you go with peanut butter, I would stress choosing a natural peanut butter,” Dudash says. Commercial peanut butter may contain excessive amounts of sugar or sodium that could negate the peanut butter’s health benefits. For an added flavor boost, drizzle on a little honey or sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Image: Thinkstock


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