May 2009 Issue

Regular Snacking Is Smart Snacking: Making It Happen

Snacking has a bad reputation; more often than not, it’s viewed as little more than an opportunity to ingest excessive calories, fat, sugar and sodium. And it’s seen as something most of us do far too often. But snacking—smart snacking—has an important place in a healthful diet. In fact, research has found that making healthful snacks a regular part of your routine can help maintain a healthy weight and prevent unhealthy highs and lows in blood sugar. Here’s what you need to know to get on the smart snack track. Snacking Improves Your Diet. If you make smart choices, snacking can make significant contributions to the nutritional quality of your diet. The trick is sticking with nutrient-rich basics—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and reduced-fat and fat-free dairy—and if you do, you’ll boost your diet’s nutrient count even more, for the fewest calories. Snacking Aids Weight Loss. As counterintuitive as it may sound, studies show that smart snacking can dampen hunger pangs and prevent overeating at meals. It can also play an important role in controlling cravings, by creating predictable frequent eating times. And it can help you maintain your weight loss. Research suggests that allowing for snacks helps stack the odds in your favor for long-term weight-loss success more than a strict three-meals-a-day approach. That’s because if you snack right, you won’t eat any more calories than you do now.

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