Snacking Your Way to Good Health
It’s a new year, and many people have goals to make this one healthy! Snacks are a big part of a healthy eating plan, and if you choose wisely, snacks can help you reach your health goals. Too often,
people grab calorie-dense snacks, such as chips or a cookie, because they are hungry between meals. However, if you plan ahead, you can have a variety of healthy and nutritious snacks ready to grab and go. Choosing healthy snacks from the grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, and protein food groups can boost your energy between meals and keep your hunger in check so you don’t overeat at meal time. In fact, you can think of snacks as “mini-meals” and view them as opportunities to eat more fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich dairy foods, which are often under-consumed by Americans.
It’s no secret that many people are trying to lose weight. Therefore, there are a few tips you should follow when choosing to include snacks into your day. First, most people do not need more than one or two snacks per day. You should never snack if you are not hungry, and always avoid the urge to eat if you are bored, stressed, worried, or angry. Next, if you do choose to include snacks in your day, keep snacks to
less than 200 calories, and be sure that you do not exceed the total number of calories you need. To help you control snack portions, measure out your foods, or choose foods that are pre-portioned, such as
yogurt or canned fruit. Some stores even offer snacks that are pre-packaged in 100-calorie portions. Just be sure to watch the sodium content if blood pressure is a concern.
Many foods make great snacks! Some snacks may just be a single food, such as an apple or popcorn, while others maybe a combination of foods from several food groups, such as fat-free yogurt with fresh
berries. Whatever snack you choose, be sure that you choose foods low in solid fat, salt, and added sugar, but high in nutrients and fiber. When planning your snacks, you’ll need to consider whether you need
access to a refrigerator to safely store your snack foods. Here are a few ideas for healthy snacks:
- Whole wheat crackers and low fat cheese
- Fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers and cherry tomatoes with low-fat salad dressing
- Fruits canned in their own juice, such as pineapple or pears
- “Grab and Go” fresh fruits, such as bananas, apples, and peaches
- Nuts, such as almonds or walnuts
- Granola bars
- Low-fat popcorn
- Peanut butter and celery sticks
- Bell peppers and hummus
Whichever snack you choose, remember to keep it healthy and low in calories.
The Hopkins County 4-H clothing & textiles project will kick off with a special event onSaturday, February 6. We are asking 4-H’ers (and guests) to meet at the Extension Office at9:30 a.m. to carpool to our field trip destination. We will spend some time touring and visiting with our host, then return to the Extension office for lunch and a fun afternoon of make-and-take projects. 4-H members who would like to participate in the 2016 4-H Fashion Show are welcome to bring their pattern and fabric, and I’ll help them get started on their outfit.
Parents are needed to help transport kids. There is no charge for the Field Trip and Sewing Fun Day, but I DO need to know how many plan to participate, so please contact my office at 903-885-3443 to sign up. Also, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status.
“Winners get to the top and turn around to see those they have defeated. Leaders get to the top and turn around to help others achieve the same” – Dan Churches