Hunger pangs between breakfast, lunch and dinner can strike even those with the most nutritious meal regimens. In fact, snacking has increased in popularity; 97 percent of Americans snack daily, up from 71 percent four decades ago, according to a recent study from the Journal of Nutrition. That makes for a lot of snacking.
For those who believe snacks are off-limits, here’s a pleasant surprise – snacking can actually benefit a diet. In addition to curbing hunger, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that healthy snacks help keep your metabolism on track, stabilize blood sugar and provide the opportunity for supplementary nutrient intake. The Academy recommends consuming snacks with less than 200 calories.
Try these tips below for guidance on how to snack smart, while not sacrificing great taste.
* Mix ‘n match. Choose versatile snack options to keep up your new snacking habit. Wasa’s new Crisp ‘N Light Wholesome Wheat Crackerbread offers fewer calories and portion control. Its versatility allows it to be enjoyed by itself, with a variety of toppings or as a bread substitute. One slice of bread is about 100 calories while three Crackerbread slices total only 70 calories.
When a savory craving kicks in, pair two slices of Wasa Crisp ‘N Light Wholesome Wheat with a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese, a slice of smoked salmon and sprinkle capers and chives on top. The salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to heart health, and the crunch of the Crackerbread offers a feeling of satiety.
If you have a sweet tooth, try this delicious recipe that boasts approximately 110 calories, three grams of protein and only two grams of fat.
Wasa Crisp ‘N Light Wholesome Wheat with Fresh Fruit and Yogurt
1/2 orange, segmented
1/2 kiwi, thinly sliced
1 strawberry, thinly sliced
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon mint, chopped
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 slices Wasa Crisp ‘N Light Wholesome Wheat Crackerbread
Mix together all fruit and lime zest with lime juice and mint. Spread 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt on each Crackerbead slice. Top with a few tablespoons of the fruit mixture.
* Prepare. Instead of grabbing calorie-laden chips or candy, think of snacks as mini-meals and integrate them into your overall meal plan. By planning ahead and only eating when you are hungry, you will also avoid eating out of boredom or stress, according to The Academy.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend two to three cups of vegetables daily, so as you purchase vegetables for the week, set aside some for snack time. Try spicing up your normal veggie routine of broccoli and carrots by considering bell peppers or jicama, a root vegetable low in calories and high in vitamin C and potassium. Pair your veggies with a hummus dip for a fiber-packed snack.
* Go (a little) nuts. The Academy highlights that, in addition to providing protein, folic acid and zinc, nuts have been linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer. Two tablespoons of raw or dry roasted slivered almonds, walnuts or pecans offers less than 200 calories and can be a great portable option.
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