Nutrition Tips: 5 Snacks That Slim You Down
As a busy mom I know the challenge of eating healthy snacks. As your hectic days take you all over the place, you have to be prepared with nourishing snacks that keep your waistline in check (if you are starving, you're more likely to binge on unhealthy foods). Below are my top snacks to keep in your pantry as well as within an arm's reach in a time crunch.
Snack #1: Homemade trail mix. Store-bought trail mixes can be a calorie trap full of sugars, so you're better off making your own. Be sure to measure the nuts a few times so you get a sense of portion size. Add freeze-dried berries and organic dark chocolate pieces for a healthy sweet fix. Try one of my favorite trail mix snacks.
Snack #2: Coconut water. This drink doesn’t get a lot of press, but it should. It's higher in potassium than a banana and is a great pre- and post-workout drink. There are lots of coconut waters on the market, so use caution and avoid the added favors such as chocolate and fruit-flavored coconut waters. Anything extra is not only unnecessary, but it adds more sugar to you diet (and waistline). Coconut water has an acquired taste, but with all the benefits, it’s worth a try.
Snack #3: Egg whites. When you're hungry, a sugary, processed goodie can sabotage a healthy eating day. Instead, eat 1-2 protein-packed egg whites at a time to curb a snack attack in an instant. Try boiling five to six eggs at a time so you always have some on hand. Pair them with some crunchy vegetables and you'll ward off cravings later in the day. For an extra boost, eat the entire egg, but make sure it’s fortified with omega-3s and limit your intake to no more than 6 whole eggs per week – less if you watching your cholesterol.
Snack #4: Snack bar. This is where things can get tricky. There are a lot of opinions out there claiming that bars are bad for you, they're full of sugar, and you should avoid them at all costs. To be honest, I used to be in one of those people, but then I had to do some research to get the facts straight. The reality is that sometimes you’re pressed for time, and bars are not only convenient but you can also typically find them faster than a bag of carrots. The only caveat is you have to be selective with your bars. Here are some ground rules for any snack bar (energy, protein or otherwise):
- Choose bars with 5-10 grams of sugar per serving.
- Avoid bars with more than 125 calories (eat half a bar if you need to).
- Aim for 10-15 grams of protein.
- Eat them no more than 2-3 times per week.
Snack #5: Vegetables. Without sounding too blah, I must stress this one. Snacking on vegetables is a sure-fire way to meet your daily quota and feel better for the rest of the day. Here's the trick though: In order to get the real benefit from eating your veggies you have to, I repeat, have to prepare them ahead of time. For example, let's say you're making a salad for dinner and you have some extra vegetables left. Instead of storing them in a plastic bag or some foil, immediately cut them up and place them in small travel bowls. Store them in your refrigerator and drop one in your bag on your way out the door. If you keep this healthy habit up, you'll load up on better foods, never toss your produce, and lose a few pounds in the process.
Try these simple and doable tips to keep your body full of energy and your mind sharp. Better yet, get your family on board with these tips, and in no time they will reap the health benefits in 2013 and beyond.
In my next post I'll discuss gym traps that can keep you from reaching your fitness goals.
Happy New Year! Make it a great one.
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