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Healthy Snacks To Help Lose Weight Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Ellis, BDO Staff Writer   
Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Image(BlackDoctor.org) -- A common mistake made by brothers and sisters who are watching their weight is unhealthy snacking. Americans snack for various reasons: maybe you’re stuck at a desk job, maybe you don’t pre-plan the grocery list, or maybe you’re simply tempted by the wrong foods. It is important to remember that you are in control of what goes into your body -- overcoming the urge to snack when you are not hungry is simply a matter of self-discipline. Keep in mind that your body is unlikely to store food as fat if you limit eating to the times when you are physically hungry.

Snacks can give you an energy boost to help fuel your body between meals. Your body uses up the carbohydrate stores in your liver (which help maintain a normal level of blood sugar) in 4 to 6 hours. You need food to replace them.

When snacking, a useful tip is to avoid starchy high-glycemic index (GI) foods. These snacks tend to provide empty calories, which raise your blood sugar very quickly and leave you craving even more sugary snacks. Examples of high GI foods include potatoes, corn, carrots, Gatorade, bagels, white bread, corn flakes, ice cream, bananas and raisins. Try healthful snack suggestions such as those listed below. Reaching for snacks like these instead of empty calories is a good way to prevent health problems.

Apple

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away." Truthfully it takes more than just one daily apple to keep you fit, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Apples are tasty, easy to transport, low in calories and a great mouth freshener. Apples are also a great source of fiber, which helps control high cholesterol and regulate the digestive system. It is recommended you eat the apple with the skin to increase fiber content. Three servings of any fruit every day is a healthy way to keep your fiber level stable.

Half a PB&J Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread

Bring back those childhood memories with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As a kid, we probably ate a less healthy version of this, but as an adult we can enjoy the same taste without the extra carbohydrates and fat. To make this favorite a healthy snack, use one slice of whole grain bread, sugar free strawberry or grape spread and natural peanut butter. Whole grain bread contains more vitamins than white bread and will help slow down the effect of the carbohydrates on the blood sugar. This will help your body avoid an unusually high rush after the snack is eaten.

Nuts of Any Kind

Enjoy a small bowl of nuts while watching football. Although nuts are notorious for expanding your midsection because they are packed with calories, if you substitute them for other calories in your diet they are quite beneficial to your health. Nuts are rich in healthy fats and vitamin E. Eating a handful of peanuts, almonds, or cashews more than twice a week will help lower your risk of coronary artery disease, a disease which causes the blood vessels to narrow. Blocked vessels can lead to insufficient blood flow to the heart and, eventually, heart attack.

Homemade Trail Mix

A homemade trail mix of walnuts, mini chocolate chips, and raisins is a snack that's satisfying and healthy for a dieter if portion sizes are kept in check. Mix a palm full of walnuts with a pinch of chocolate chips and a pinch of raisins

Top 10 rules to follow for healthy snacking:

  1. Choose snacks for variety and select foods from different food groups.
  2. Snack only when you are hungry.
  3. Eat snacks well ahead of a meal, at least 2-3 hours.
  4. Eat snack size portions.
  5. Fruit is a simple and healthy snack. Go easy on high fat and sugar snacks. These foods are from top of the food guide pyramid.
  6. Plan ahead and bring snacks with you. Vending machine snacks are usually high in calories and fat.
  7. Read labels for serving sizes and portion control.
  8. Drink water. At least 8 eight ounce glasses are recommended each day.
  9. Snacking while studying or watching TV usually means you will eat more than you intended!
  10. Remember, one snack, one meal, or one day of eating cannot make or break your health. It is what you eat consistently over time that counts.
  • BlackDoctor.org is a credible and trusted resource for African Americans to get healthy lifestyle information.  A "WebMD" for Black consumers is a good way of looking at us.  Our aim is to build a comprehensive database of accurate, relevant information and to be the first point of call whenever African Americans need medical/dental information or a referral to a qualified Black doctor. 
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