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Sensible Snacks

Posted by bmagnus On August - 7 - 2009

An article in our local newspaper points out the obvious:

There are 100-calorie packs of cookies, crackers, candy, chips, cakes and pudding. Hundred-calorie packs of nuts and beef jerky and cereal bars and Swedish fish. And even 100-calorie packs for canine companions, although we’re not going to take that side track.

The one thing they have in common — besides the obvious — is that they tend to be pretty pricey compared to most snacks, and with the exception of the nuts (and maybe the dog treats), they’re not exactly healthful.

Snacking is a funny thing. Done right with healthy foods paced correctly, they can keep your metabolism revved all day long, keep you on task, and help avoid over-eating at meals. One study suggests that snacking is actually “an important dietary behavior” for older adults. Done wrong with junk food, they can be empty calories that encourage wild swings in blood sugar, mood, and energy levels.

There are now several cookbooks out there for those inclined to make fancy snacks. This is the one mentioned in the newspaper article. Here’s another one, and here’s one that goes up to 200 calories. But remember that you can put together simple, healthy, low calorie snacks with nothing more complicated than a measuring cup and a zip-top plastic bag.

String cheese is under 100 calories per serving. So is a hard boiled egg. A piece of fruit such as an apple, orange, or banana is healthy and diet friendly, and can survive the morning without refrigeration. In under 5 minutes, you can portion out and bag up carrot sticks, celery sticks, berries, raisins, or nuts. The last two won’t be any the worse for wear if they spend a couple of days in your desk drawer or purse.

Healthy eating isn’t really any harder than grabbing a candy bar out of the office vending machine, but it does take a little planning ahead.

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