What to Look for in a Snack
It’s mid-afternoon and you’re feeling sluggish. You know there are chips in the breakroom. Or that remaining birthday cake in the fridge is calling your name. You’re aware that neither is a healthy choice, but what should you look for in a snack that will tamp down hunger and power you until dinner time? Indeed—what to look for, when and how to eat a snack, all contribute to your health and wellbeing.
Smart Choices for Healthy Snacking
Aim for nutritional value when selecting a snack your body will thank you for. A few guidelines may help you know what to look for in a snack:
High protein: Active adults run on protein. In a 2012 study, University of Missouri researchers found that healthy women who ate a snack containing 24 grams of protein, for example, felt full longer than women who consumed less. (A hard-boiled egg, by comparison, contains 6 grams of protein). Also, natural fiber will help you feel fuller longer.
Low calories: Aim for between 150 and 300 calories.
Low fat: Choose snacks with low saturated fat (often found in animal products), while avoiding trans-fat found in foods containing partially hydrogenated oils, among other sources. Keep fat intake below 35% of your total daily calories.
Low sugar: According to the American Heart Association (AHA), men should consume no more than 150 calories per day in sugar (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons), while women should limit sugar to 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). Keep in mind that many snack bars are loaded with sugar and fat, so always check the label.
Low salt: The average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium per day, most from processed foods, while 1,500 to 2,300 is the recommended target. A healthy snack should contribute less than 10% of your daily salt consumption.
When to snack: Knowing your activity and energy needs can help you plan healthy snacks so you don’t wind up running to the vending machine for chips. If you start your day very early, for example, you may need a mid-morning snack. If you are planning a running or biking workout, you may want a snack an hour or so before you start. The key is to snack when you are a little bit hungry–not starving–and not out of habit or boredom.
Taking a Mindful Approach to Eating your Snacks
At Munk Pack, we put a lot of care and thought into the creation of our snacks. Designed to be healthy, tasty and satisfying, our products are gluten-free, kosher and free of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols.
So too, we invite you to eat your snacks—and all your meals—mindfully. By that we mean taking the time to enjoy the flavor, textures and how you feel eating the food. It may seem unproductive, but ideally when you eat you are taking a break and not multitasking. This will help to increase your satiety and decrease the urge to snack again too soon.
Discover great examples of what to look for in a healthy snack that will boost your energy and fuel your day. Visit munkpack.com to learn about delicious protein cookies and oatmeal fruit squeezes.
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