With today’s busy lifestyle, many of us feel like there is no time for healthy eating. Often, it’s tempting to go the quick and easy route by grabbing a burger and fries, or snacking on potato chips and chocolate bars. But snacking doesn’t have to be unhealthy—it can actually be a great way of maintaining energy levels, managing hunger, and preventing binge eating.
If you have a hectic schedule, it’s especially important to eat healthy foods that will give you the fuel you need to keep going. Even if you take the time to eat three meals a day, you may still feel hungry at times. Smart snacking can help to keep you going until your next regular meal. Snacking on nutritious food can keep your energy level high and your mind alert.
Eating packets of fries or potato wedges may give you a temporary boost, but a snack so high in fat and calories will only slow you down in the long run. To keep energy levels going while avoiding weight gain, stay away from foods with lots of simple carbohydrates (sugars) like candy bars or soda. Look for foods that contain complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and cereals. Try combining these with protein-rich snacks such as peanut butter or low-fat yogurt or cheese. Fresh fruits and raw vegetables are also great choices. Or, if you’re especially hungry, go for wholemeal sandwiches with lots of raw vegetables.
Just because a label says a food is “all natural” or “pure,” that doesn’t necessarily mean the food is nutritious. For example, “all natural” juices or sodas can be filled with sugar (which is, after all, a natural ingredient). All that sugar means these drinks will be high in calories and provide little nutrition.
Because manufacturers do change their recipes, you could get more calories, sugars and fat substitutes than you bargained for. This means it’s important to always look at labels before purchasing. Don’t judge the food by the claims written on the front of the package, either; it’s best to read the ingredients and nutrition information on the food label.
Of course, the best way to monitor what you eat is to make snacks yourself. That way, you know exactly what ingredients are included.
Need some ideas for healthy dishes and snacks? Try these recipes:
• Vegan Power Buddha Bowl
• Watermelon Juice with Chia Seeds and Mint
• Apple, Carrot, and Three Seed Muesli Bars
• Frozen Banana with Chocolate and Nuts
• Cream Cheese Soufflés with Cherry Compote