Your Stomach is growling but your next meal is hours away. What do you do? If you think your best option is to avoid the snacks altogether and wait for the next meal, think again.
The Benefits Of Snacking
You may feel regretful about snacking, but snacks aren’t necessarily bad for you. In fact, mini-meals several times a day can be beneficial. If eating a healthy snack keeps you from taking second and third helpings at your next meal, you may actually consume fewer total calories for the day. A wide variety of snacks can fit into a healthy lifestyle, so you don’t need to avoid snacks. Rather, plan them with variety, moderation and balance in mind.
Choose Snacks Wisely
Select foods that cna satisfy hunger, supply your body with energy and provide important nutrients. Choose a wide variety of these foods to ensure that you get all the necessary nutrients, and to make your snacks more interesting.
Here are some of your best snack picks:
Whole Grains snacks
Whole-grain snacks are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, which give you immediate energy that has some staying power. Look for items such as low-fat whole-grain crackers, whole-grain pretzels and whole-grain crispbreads.
Fruits and vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables provides a feeling of fullness with no fat and only small amounts of calories. They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein, which helps keep you feeling fuller longer. The fat in nuts and seeds is monounsaturated fat, a healthy kind of fat. Nuts and seeds are high in calories, however, so don’t eat them in large quantity.
Low Fat Dairy Product
Cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are good sources of calcium, protein, and other nutrients. Dairy products can be high in fat, so choose the low-fat versions. Yogurt may have alot of added sugar, so you should consider light yogurt to limit your calorie intake.
Though snacks can contribute to a healthy diet, they can also be a source of excess calories if not eaten in moderation. For example, a reasonable amount of almonds (about 23 kernels or a handful) contains 164 calories. But if you eat handful after handful until it totals a cup of almonds, the calorie count jumps to 800-plus calories.
- Snacks are great
- Eat Several mini-meals per day
- Eat high fiber whole grain snacks
- Eat low calorie fruits and veggies
Stick with the berry family
Stick with Dark Green Veggies
- Dark Greens
- Green Bean
Low fat dairy products are good in snacks
- low fat cheeses
- no fat cheeses
- unsweetened yogurts
Get Ready for a Snack Attack and incorporate a Good Snack between meals to help support a good quality Nutrition plan
Count Your Calories
It is becoming difficult to pick up a magazine or newspaper and not find some mention of the need to reduce dietary fat intake to 30 percent or less of calories. Numerous health and government authorities, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association, advocate reducing dietary fat to 30 percent or less of total calories. Even the percent daily value of fat appearing on food labels is based on 30 percent of calories. But are Americans heeding these messages?
It appears that they are at least making some effort to reduce fat intake, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, CSFII). This survey shows that from 1994 to 1996 the average American diet contained 33 percent of total calories from fat, down from 40 percent in 1978, which is extremely encouraging.
Why then, if the percent of fat in the diet is decreasing, is obesity increasing?
After all, fat has nine calories per gram while protein and carbohydrates only have four each.
The answer may not be a simple one. Experts believe a number of factors contribute to the increase in body weight. The continuing physical inactivity of Americans has been cited by numerous researchers as a major factor. Only 40 percent of Americans exercise on a regular basis. In addition, researchers point to such symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle as a 10 percent decline in sports participation from 1985-90, and a decline in manufacturing jobs, which means fewer people move around at work.
Other factors include a decrease in physical activity caused by television, a continuing increase in the usage of automobiles, and a decrease in physical education classes in schools. And these symptoms may be here to stay. “Experts agree that the root causes of obesity in the country — a sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of food — are very difficult to change,” says New York Times writer Marian Burros in a recent article on Americans’ weight gain.
Obviously, Weight is determined by the number of calories consumed and the number used as energy. If more calories are consumed than burned, the result is weight gain. Merely controlling grams of fat consumed, which was popular nutrition advice in the past, does not necessarily result in a reduction in calories.
As Dr. James Hill, who is with the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, recently stated, “The idea that you can eat whatever you want as long as you don’t eat fat is totally wrong. There’s solid evidence that the composition of the diet is important, but it’s not just an issue of fat; total calories count too. So, yes, eat low fat. But don’t forget calories.
Why Americans Keep Getting Fatter
As Americans continue to struggle with obesity in the United States, we must ask ourselves some very important questions:
What makes our life style different than other cultures around the world?
Why do we suffer so much from diabetes and heart related diseases?
How can we make better decisions in choosing the right foods to support a healthy lifestyle?
Well, I discovered a lot about how different South American cultures interact with food and how to have a much healthier lifestyle without the need of prescription drugs and without having to battle problems like diabetes and heart disease and obesity.
There are some noticeable contrasts between how South American people live their lives, both in terms of their dietary habits and how they approach life in general.
We can adopt healthier lifestyles and adapt our way of life to lower the risk of obesity in this nation by learning from other cultures and passing those lessons on to our children.
Here are some of my observations
- What you don’t see are fast food chains on every corner. There you don’t see are people eating tons of processed snack foods like potato chips and nacho chips that are loaded with bad fat, high sodium, high bad carbohydrates, and tons of preservatives.
- What you do see are people making lunch their main meal of the day and dinner the smallest meal of the day.
- What you also see are foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals that are completely organic and eaten from there most natural state.
The South American Culture consumes tons of organic and natural and I might add unbelievably delicious fruits and vegetables along with seafood and meats that support a natural healthy lifestyle.
The other key is they consume most of these rich in nutrient foods early in the day and reduce their food consumption later at night, as well as consuming 5-6 meals per day.
Sounds familiar with some of the latest advice from some of the current diet books out promoting smaller more frequent meals and reducing your food intake as you move towards bedtime.
So now that we have a place to start from, let’s talk about the foods that make you FAT!!!
Foods that can make you fat have a few things in common
- High in total calories and High in total fat Low in nutritional value
- High in refined sugars
- Too much in calorie density
- Come in a box from the middle aisles of the grocery store
- Loaded with preservatives
- High in Sodium
- Loaded with artificial fillers and additives
- Have words that you cannot pronounce on the label
Of course over the years we have called these foods “junk foods” and in the United States, these “junk foods” have continued to grow in popularity for many reasons.
They are ready to eat right from a box (convenient).They really tease our taste buds with tons of salt ,sugar and fat .
Here are the major food groups that contribute to weight gain.
Every fried item contains refined white flour from the breading, which is heavy in fat. Fruit drinks and soda both include a lot of refined sugar and artificial ingredients. Snack foods like potato chips and nacho chips often include a lot of unhealthy fats.
Fast food processed meat products like hot dogs, hamburgers, bacon, and sausage tend to be rich in sodium and unhealthy fat. Typically served atop bread made with refined white flour
If a large portion of the foods in your FAT Food group make up your meal plans, you definitely aren’t meeting your fitness and health objectives and are finding it difficult to maintain your weight loss.
Watching Your Carbs Intake? Count the calories
The Low Carbs Craze
Trendy in the dieting world currently means low carbohydrate. You can’t walk the aisles of a grocery store, turn on the television, or pick up a magazine without seeing something about carbs. The best-selling diets out now, some of which include the Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, and The Zone, exclude carbs almost entirely or limit certain types of carbs. And, more and more restaurants and fast food chains are now offering carbs-conscious menus.
Atkins vs. The South Beach Diet vs. The Zone Atkins Diet
Almost no carbs allowed (including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
No calorie or fat restrictions (diet contains almost three times the recommended saturated fat)
Overall, the diet lacks many nutrients including vitamins C, D, and E; calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc Diet contains very little fiber
The South Beach Diet
Some carbs that are high in fiber are allowed Restricts saturated fats: no butter, bacon or fried foods
Each meal or snack has to be split up as follows: 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% unsaturated fat
Carbohydrates have to be combined with proteins in certain amounts in order to stabilize blood sugar
The Low-Carbs Diet Lowdown
Limited studies have shown that following a carbs-restricted diet, like the above, will produce weight loss; however, there are no long-term studies yet available that show how safe or effective these diets can be long-term. Many health and nutrition experts question the nutritional quality and one’s ability to follow these diets after an extended period of time.
Most people will lose weight initially on too-restrictive diets, but after they begin to incorporate some of the foods they have been avoiding, they tend to gain the weight (plus more sometimes) back. A more sensible approach that moderately limits (not excludes) carbs increases your chances of getting all your nutrients and keeping the weight you lose off for good!
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