Snacks 101

This post is slightly inspired by my Nutrition class… This week we are learning about fiber, and I know you are probably wiggling in your seat at the mention of fiber, but it does a whole lot more than just regulating your system. Fiber helps you stay full longer, because it slows down your digestion. Eating fiber prevents that glucose spike which gives you a burst of energy for a few minutes and then drops you. Instead the blood glucose levels remain constant and your stay full longer. Great snacking technique! This also helps if you are trying to lose weight, because you don’t feel the need to eat as often, and can stay away from those extra calories!

Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol, which in the long run helps your heart. This means that you lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.

My favorite perk is the fact that it keeps you full longer. I love mid-day snacks, but I don’t want to be hungry 30 minutes after I have a snack. Here are some great snack ideas that contain fiber, among other nutrients.

You don’t have to be under the age of 10 to get snacks every day. I think we all need snacks! Or maybe I am the only one. In that case I will just go eat these wonderful snacks by myself, or with other little kids.

No seriously though. Health gurus are beginning to recommend that we eat about 5 times a day. Rather than having 3 large meals each day, they say that we should eat 5 small meals in a day (consisting of the same number of calories, but just more spread out).

So, whether you are a kid, or an adult, these snacks are some ideas to get you started in the right direction. Some of these I am sure you have seen before, but if you are like me, you always find yourself racking your brain trying to remember what snacks there are (besides Doritos or carrot sticks). You might also want to check out some other snacking suggestions from my friends article Eating Well in a Pinch!

Apples & Peanut Butter

1 apple, sliced
2 TBS peanut butter
1 TBS honey (optional)
If you use the honey, simply mix the peanut butter with the honey before serving. It works as a dip or a spread! The apple is a great source of fiber, especially if you eat it with the peel, and the peanut butter provides the protein. The honey not only adds a sweet touch, but it is an antioxidant as well (especially clover honey).

Banana Sandwich:

2 pieces whole wheat bread
1 banana
2 TBS peanut butter
Did you know? Peanut butter and wheat bread each have certain amino acids which, on their own don’t constitute a complete protein, but together peanut butter and wheat bread form complete proteins. This means that a peanut butter sandwich is adequately nutritious. Add a banana, which is a great source of fiber and vitamin C and you have a perfect snack! 

Cottage Cheese & Pears

1 fresh pear (or 1/2 cup canned pears in juice)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
We grew up eating this as a breakfast, but it is a great snack too! Pears have lots of potassium, which helps your body maintain it’s fluid balance, contract muscles and hold a regular blood pressure. Cottage cheese is good for getting an extra bit of calcium, but keep your portions small, because it does have small amounts of saturated fat.

Strawberries & Coconut

4 large strawberries
3 TBS coconut flakes
Remove the tops of the strawberries, wash and cut into quarters. Dip the strawberries into the coconut flakes, or put everything in a plastic sandwich bag and shake to coat. This was a favorite snack of mine as a child and I still love it! The coconut replaces sugar or whipped cream that so many people love to eat with strawberries. Strawberries have more than half of the daily recommendation of vitamin C, and they are also a good source of fiber. Coconut provides healthy fats, as well as fiber and iron.

Nutritional facts in this post come from my Nutrition class and The New Complete Book of Food: A Nutritional, Medical, and Culinary Guide

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