Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Choosing Healthy Snacks Using MyPyramid

What is a snack? A snack is any food that is eaten between meals. Now, what is a smart snack? A smart snack includes healthy choices from the food groups in MyPlate. So, if your meals come up short on any food group, choose foods from that food group for your snacks. Try fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats or whole grains products.
Avoid snacks high in fat, sugar and salt. These include candy bars, doughnuts, fries, hamburgers, and regular soda.

Snacking Myths:
MYTH: Snacks cause weight gain. FACT: No! You gain weight when you consume more calories, no matter what you eat, than you burn during the day.

MYTH: Snacks ruin appetites. FACT: No! Eating a snack 1–2 hours before a meal helps adults satisfy hunger and eat a smaller meal. Snacks help children and adolescents get the extra nutrients they need.

MYTH: Snacks cause cavities. FACT: No! You get cavities when you eat sugary and starchy snacks throughout the day. In contrast, snacks that include milk or cheese help prevent tooth decay, while fruits and vegetables keep teeth and gums healthy.

Who Should Snack?
Everyone should snack: children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Many children do not get enough calories from three meals a day; older adults often do not eat enough calories and need snacks to meet their needs. Adding in snacks between meals helps provide calories and nutrients.
Eating healthy snacks gives you the fuel you need to keep going! Planning is KEY to Successful Snacking!

·         Make sure to keep ready-to-eat portions of crackers, canned fruit, yogurt, and tuna packed in water.
·         Wash fresh produce and keep ready-to-eat portions in bags in the refrigerator. Keep low-fat yogurt or dip to grab and go.
·         Prepare your own granola or trail mix. Combine 1 cup whole-grain oat cereal with ¼ cup of chopped nuts such as walnuts, and ¼ cup dried fruit such as cranberries for a healthy trail mix.
·         Make your snacks interesting, fun and creative. Variety is the key!
·         Keep healthy, tasty, and easy to carry snacks in your backpack or purse nearby.

Source: Choosing Healthy Snacks Using My Pyramid, University of Florida Extension

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