Choose better for you snacks

Healthy SnacksAs we move forward into the New Year, some of the initial enthusiasm and dedication to healthier eating habits that we had may start to decline. One easy and effective way to keep on track with your goals is by choosing healthier snacks. A snacking makeover that replaces high fat or high sugar snacks with healthier lower fat and lower sugar choices is one of the simplest and most effective ways to healthier eating habits.

When hunger hits in between meal times that's when many resolutions and good intentions start to fail. Choosing snacks such as whole grain Cheerios helps you to recharge your energy without derailing your commitment to healthier eating.

According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey, one-third of Canadians said they are snacking more often, and two-thirds of respondents replied they are seeking more wholesome snacks that are low in fat and calories. Here are some strategies to ensure snacks are healthy choices without sacrificing taste and convenience:

  • Make snacks part of your diet by reaching for snacks with multiple-nutrition benefits that complement your meals and add variety to your diet. For example, if you tend to fill up on meat and dairy at mealtime, reach for fruit or whole grain snacks to balance your nutritional intake.
  • Match snacks to calorie needs and weight goals. Learn which nutrient dense snacks are between 100-200 calories. Some choices include: a high fibre granola bar, 1/4 cup of trail mix, a bowl of Cheerios with milk or 1/2 bag of light microwave popcorn.
  • Manage portion size – eating too much is one of the most common mistakes people make. Snacks shouldn't “fill you up,” they should ensure you're “not hungry.” For example, 25 almonds is a snack under 200 calories; however a 1/2 cup of almonds could be considered a meal.
  • Snack when you're hungry. Resist the urge to nibble in response to boredom, stress or fatigue. When mid-afternoon hits and you need to take a break, stretch, go for a walk and drink some water. People often mistake thirst for hunger. By staying hydrated, you may not be as inclined to overeat.

Snacking is part of a healthy lifestyle. According to Canada's Food Guide, snacks can keep people energized and provide important nutrients if chosen wisely. Making a few small changes to something you do everyday can lead to forming new habits that will benefit your body in 2009 and beyond.