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Diet Guidelines for Healthy Snacking

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Nutritious Snacking Options

Basic snacks that involve minimum cooking and fewer ingredients are the most effective. For individuals who are not suffering from a chronic disease or specific food allergies, an ideal quick healthy snack option can be:

Few peanuts

Small amount of roasted channas (roasted chickpeas)

A slice of cheese

150 to 200 ml of fluids such as soya milk, coconut water, lime water, and green tea.

Five to six nuts and seed mixtures (Figs, dates, almonds, walnuts, raisins, roasted sesame–fennel–flax seed mixture). Nuts are packed with protein and fiber. They do contain a certain amount of fat but those are good ones viz. monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats which are known to reduce bad cholesterol. They are rich in vitamin E as well, nuts cannot be eaten in large quantities as they are caloric dense. Just a handful would suffice.

A cup of milk/ yoghurt/ curds – Low fat dairy products are rich in protein, calcium and contain less fat. Low fat dairy products should be opted for as the saturated fats in regular high fat milk tend to increase the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).

A fruit or few salad sticks. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. We tend to fall short of these nutrients in the daily diet and the irony is - they are very important for a healthy body. Eating whole fruits and salads in between meals is an ideal way to ensure a good intake.

Handful of homemade healthy dry mixture using rice flakes, puffed rice, wheat flakes, oat flakes, chickpea, peanuts etc makes for a healthy snack.

Half a cup of whole grain cereals like muesli, oats, and wheat flakes. Whole grains contain B- vitamins, calcium, iron, and soluble fiber. They could be either consumed dry or with milk.

Half a cup of sprouts or any unsplit pulse.

All the above foods are nutrient dense and are high in their protein and fiber content. Since they are also low in carbohydrates, they help to stabilize blood sugars as well as keep the body active and the mind alert. The accumulation of fat is also inhibited.

Hot snacks can also be prepared at home with little modifications. For example, whole wheat sandwiches, whole wheat pizza with more veggies, vegetable rolls made with whole wheat chappatis, broken wheat porridge, grilled chicken, fish, pancakes, boiled egg whites, boiled corn, mixed flour chappatis are some healthy options. There could also be unlimited variations. Remember to keep the portion size small and petite. Multiple meals are eaten with the aim to satisfy the stomach and prevent one from overeating during the next meal.

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Our normal physiology dictates us to consume food every 3-4 hours because that is how long the food [or chyme when it is already digested] stays in the stomach. The society's notion that we should eat 3 big meals is wrong. Snacking allows our body to be on the right track physiologically.
ennairam_23 Friday, February 04, 2011

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