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Fuel Your Day with Nutritious Snacks

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Novella Lui
RD, MHSc

Snacking is inevitable when you lead a busy life.  Whether you work 9 to 5, you are a soccer parent or simply work from the comfort of your home office, you need to fuel your body when you are hungry.  How you choose your snacks and how much you eat, however, can have an impact on your health and overall well-being.   Here are seven tips for you to healthy snacking:

 

Include protein and fibre

A nutritious snack includes at least two of the four food groups from Eating Well Canada’s Food Guide.  Having said that, a snack that includes protein and dietary fibre is an added bonus because they tend to give you a prolonged feeling of fullness.  While lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, milk, and cheese are good sources of protein, you can find fibre in whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and nuts and seeds.    With a wide array of foods that include both of these nutrients, you can create numerous healthy snack combinations.  Here are a few:

 

Variety is Key

Having a variety of healthy snacks is just as important as simply having a snack.  Instead of having cheese and crackers or vegetables and dip, have Vegan Peanut Butter Oat Bars, for a change. Developed by our Corporate Chef, a 2 inch by 3 inch-oat bar will provide you with 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber.  You will also receive the omega-3 fatty acids benefits from using Alligga™ Roasted Flaxseeds and Alligga™ Flaxseed Cooking Oil.  Make this a complete snack by enjoying a glass of milk or dairy alternative, such as fortified soy or almond beverage for additional protein.

Plan ahead

To keep your variety of healthy snacks interesting, plan your snacks ahead.  Place your snacks in snack containers or bags the night before so you can grab them before you leave home to start your day.

Portion sizes

Another benefit of placing your snacks in containers or snack bags is that you can control how much food you will have.  If you will be snacking at home, simply take a portion and place it on a plate or bowl.  Eating directly from a package, especially large packages, can lead to mindless snacking, where you may not be paying attention to how much you eat.

Mindful snacking

In addition to paying attention to your snack portion sizes, where you eat your snack is also key to good health.  When you are snacking in front of a screen, or while you are working or driving, you may eat more than you actually need.  When it takes our brain 20 minutes to register the feeling of fullness, enjoying your snack at a location where you have minimal distractions will allow you to listen to your body for satiety cues.

Follow your hunger cues

Before you grab your snack, ask yourself, am I really hungry or thirsty?  If it is the latter, have a glass of water or a healthier beverage such as milk and fruit-infused water to relieve your thirst.  Sometimes, tiredness, boredom, and stress can also make you want to eat.  Instead of using food to relieve your symptoms, take a break from what you are doing.  Go for a walk to get some fresh air.

Include vegetables as part of a snack

According to Dietitians of Canada, about half of Canadians do not need enough vegetables and fruits.  Including vegetables and fruits as part of your snack is a way to consume more.  Make some homemade muffins with our recipe, Apple Cinnamon Muffins, to complement vegetable slices with a yogurt dip.

For more information about Nutrition Month, please visit Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign on nutritionmonth2018.ca.

Source:  Dietitians of Canada.  (2018).  Unlock The Potential Of Food:  The Potential To Fuel.  Retrieved from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Nutrition-Month/NM2018-Factsheets.aspx

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