What makes up a healthy snack?

If you are trying to improve your health, you might want to change your snacking habits, say St. Elizabeth experts.

 

Are snacks recommended between meals?

Snacking is a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet that you may not be getting at regular meal times. It’s also a good way to maintain energy levels throughout the day, but dietitians at the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center say that a snack is not a meal, and you need to know the difference.

“[Snacking] is a portion-controlled way to indulge in the food that you really love without letting it get out of hand,” said Karah Stanley, a registered dietitian with St. Elizabeth Physicians.

A snack, as Stanley’s food models show, is a small amount of food that is no more than 200 calories. Many who are watching their weight consider snacks  “taboo,” but Stanley says that’s not the case and it is better for you to plan for a snack rather than grab whatever is closest when your stomach starts rumbling.

The secret, according to Stanley, is the pairing.

So, if you are going to have a snack, choose a healthy fruit or veggie but pair it with a low-fat cheese and almond butter or peanut butter, so that you have a more filling snack. Keeping this balance will help keep you from getting hungry again right away. Our bodies use carbohydrates for energy, but it takes longer to break down proteins and fats, so they will keep you fuller in the long run and help your energy last longer.

Click here to watch the full segment with Local 12’s Liz Bonis.