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Snacking isn't bad if it is healthy?
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Let’s face it. We all like to snack at one time or another. However, more people than ever are trying to follow a healthy diet that includes lean meat, low-fat products, organic foods, natural snacks, and healthy snacks. There is great emphasis on avoiding snacks that are bad for you. Snacking itself is not bad if we try to eat healthy natural treats.
What are unhealthy snack?
Bad snacks are those with a high sugar and sodium content, those with high fat content, and those with high calorie count. Many cookies, chips, crackers, sodas, and some trail mixes fall into this category and they contain hydrogenated fats. There are lower fat, sugar free, lower sodium, and lower calorie versions of these products available, but because they are processed, they still do not fall into the category of healthy snacks or natural snacks and may not induce weight loss. Some fruit-flavoured snacks contain a great amount of sugar and don’t fall into the natural treat category.
Some good and nutritious snacking alternatives
Physicians and health organizations recommend that we eat more natural snacks and healthy snacks. But what are healthy snacks? Fruits and raw vegetables are the most natural snacks and are very healthy for you. Instead of munching on chips and salty snack foods, substitute ready-to-eat dry cereal, bread sticks, rice cakes, or nuts. Low-fat yogurt is a good choice. Try whole grain bagels with some low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter. Pretzels that are lightly salted or unsalted (especially whole grain pretzels) are a good alternative. Make your own trail mix from ready-to-eat cereal, nuts, and dried fruit. If you enjoy milk products, try individual pudding cups, smoothies, or low-fat cheese sticks for a healthy snack and weight loss. Some healthy markets and grocery stores offer packaged organic snacks and dried fruits, nuts, and cereal if you want to make your own natural treat. If you have to have an ice cream bar, try a low-fat fudgesicle instead.
Easy to make homemade snacks
Of course, cut up fruit snacks or sliced vegetables are easy to make, all natural, and part of a healthy diet, but they also make wonderful healthy snacks. A slice of apple with low-fat peanut butter makes a wonderful fruit snack. Popcorn that is 94% fat free is another natural treat. You can use organic products to make your own natural snack bars or mix. Try a stalk of celery with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter. Make a smoothie with low-fat yogurt, fat-free milk, and fresh fruits. Try organic cereal as another low fat snack, nuts, dried fruit and pretzels as a trail mix that is a natural treat. Make your own healthy granola bars from whole oats, nuts, and fruits. They are sugar-free (except for the natural sugar in fruit) and sodium-free, so they make a healthy, natural snack. Whole, unprocessed almonds or unsalted peanuts are natural treats that are healthy for you. Unsalted, roasted pumpkin seeds make a natural organic treat.

Recipe for honey-roasted Chex Mix: 3 c. Corn Chex cereal, 2 c. Cheerios, 1 ½ c. Bugles baked corn snacks, ½ c. honey-roasted peanuts or 1 c. low-fat pretzels, 2 tbs. light corn syrup, 2 tbs. honey, 1 tb. low-fat margarine, and ½ tsp. vanilla. Heat oven to 325 F. Mix cereals, snacks and peanuts in a large bowl. Heat corn syrup, honey and butter to boiling using medium heat and stir occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over the cereal and snack mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Spread in an ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes. Stir once after 10 minutes. Spread the mixture on waxed paper to cool (about 15 minutes). Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

You can find many more recipes for healthy snacks in magazines, cook books, and on cooking or health food websites. Better yet, make up your own. Use organic or natural ingredients and a low-fat corn syrup or honey to bind it together.


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Healthy snacks your kids will love?
Because of the concern over obesity, emphasis is being placed on organic or healthy, natural snacks for kids. Some “all natural” fruit snacks are loaded with sugar. Some granola bars have a high sugar and fat content. Physicians have stated that snacking is good for kids with high energy levels and it may keep them from overeating at mealtime. It’s important to read the labels and find snacks that have low levels of sugar and sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat. Children are more likely to eat healthy, natural snacks if they are also allowed to eat a small amount of the prepared snacks they love. You can make kids cut-up vegetables in individual plastic snack bags. That way, they can grab it and be on their way. Low-fat pudding cups are another choice. Some are also sugar-free. There are a lot of all natural snacks that you can put in individual plastic bags: chunks of fruit; a mixture of dry cereal, nuts, raisins, and a few chocolate chips; popcorn; half a low-fat energy bar cut into bite-sized pieces; and little “sandwiches” made from whole wheat crackers with low-fat peanut butter. These are only a few of the all natural and healthy snacks that kids will love. You can’t make every snack sugar-free or fat-free, but you can try to include all natural fruit snacks, vegetable snacks, nuts, and raisins as much as you can.
Snacking as part pf balanced nutrition?
For most of us, snacking is part of the healthy diet we try to maintain. If we can stay from the processed snacks containing high sugar, sodium, and fat levels, and substitute alternative natural treats like fruit snacks or raw vegetables or organic snacks, we will be healthy and fit. If you cannot confine your snacking to all natural products, like nuts, then read the labels of your snack foods to find the ones that are lowest in sugar, sodium, and fats. Try to select snacks with no trans fats at all. If we eat healthy, natural treats, our kids will be more likely to eat the same snacks, or at least most of them.
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