Not All Snacks Are Created Equal!

By DeDe Hausmann

Let’s get real here.  When you think of snacks do you think of red, ripe delicious-tasting apples or a big chunk of chocolate?  As for me I’ll go for chocolate anytime over an apple EXCEPT when I know I need that nutritious apple, and I have recently had some mouth-watering chocolate.

February is NATIONAL SNACK FOODS MONTH and what better time than for us to really look at our own personal snack choices.  I admit I LOVE CHOCOLATE but I know I need to enjoy it in moderation, just like everything else I savor.

There’s loads of goodies out there that we all enjoy when we want a treat and many are not very nutritious.  But if you really look, you can find many healthy snacks that are very tasty.

Let’s look at healthy snacks that we can pull from the 5 food groups.

FRUITS: Ever tried “Cuties”—small mandarin oranges that are easy to peel and have no seeds?  Or, you could try red seedless grapes. They have more flavor than green grapes.  Or, slice cold kiwi’s for lots of Vitamin C.   Pears this time of year are great also.  Ripen them in a brown bag and then chill well before slicing.

VEGGIES: Go for colorful veggies (and fruits) for they usually have the best nutrient packages.  Cut up broccoli and/or cauliflower flowerettes, slice some radishes and yellow or green zucchini squash, wash and dry well and refrigerate.  Serve these with plain, non-fat yogurt mixed with dill weed or other seasonings.

GRAINS: Look for whole grain crackers, breads and cereals.  Check out DIETARY FIBER on nutrition labels.  Go for a minimum of 1 gram of dietary fiber/serving.  And don’t be fooled by the package name.

MEATS/NUTS/BEANS: Spread peanut butter or tuna salad on whole grain crackers or have nuts or seeds (1/2 oz.= 1 serving) handy.  Smooth lite cream cheese on whole grain tortillas, top with thin slices of cooked meats, cheese and veggies. Top with another tortilla and heat, slice and eat your quesadilla!!!

DAIRY: Keep yogurt on hand, whether Greek (has more protein) or regular yogurt. Enjoy string cheese or slices of reduced fat cheese to go with whole grain crackers.  And you can’t beat an icy cold glass of reduced fat or fat-free chocolate milk for a quick snack.

So the next time you reach for a not-so-healthy snack, consider grabbing a healthy treat and be proud of yourself.  If you HAVE to have a sweet, eat just a little and again, be proud of yourself.  Think HEALTHY when snacking whenever possible. 

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