Snacking Smart Will Improve Your Health, Quality of Life
Snacking smart will not only improve your health, but also your quality of life. No doubt that a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner are important. But what you snack between meals affects your health just as much — if not more than a regular meal. All of us love to eat snacks, the key, however, is to be smart about it. Snacking is an American pastime, much like baseball. In fact, 25 percent of our daily calories come from snacks, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Therefore, it’s important that our snacking should also add nutritional value. Indeed, snacking smart is important for all age groups, and definitely a key factor for senior citizens. As we age, our metabolism decreases by about 2 percent a year. This comes out to 150 calories a day, every 10 years. As calorie intake decreases, nutrition value should stay the same or even increase, so that you stay healthy.
Here are a few ways you can snack smart and stay healthy and active.
Snacking Smart: Protein Paves The Way
Protein is key when it comes to snacks It controls hunger pangs, sugar levels, and will keep you going comfortably right to your next scheduled meal.
According to a study from the University of Missouri, when adult subjects ate a high-protein yogurt for a mid afternoon snack, they felt less hungry, waited longer before starting their next meal and, and ate about 100 fewer calories at dinner. Seniors need even more protein, to prevent the loss of muscle mass. Beans, dairy or nuts — in items like hummus, yogurt and peanut butter — are all good sources of protein.
Snacking Smart: Fiber For Fullness
Fiber plays several important roles. It helps digestive health, regulates blood sugar and lowers your cholesterol. To help reach your daily goal, snack on vegetables such as carrots; fruits like pears or berries; legumes, including chickpeas; and whole grains, such as popcorn.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
Cut down or totally eliminate such foods like pretzels and crackers, as well as sweetened snacks. These include cookies and candies. They taste good but don’t give you the vital nutrients your body needs. At most, just eat them occasionally.
Also remember that foods high in simple sugars can cause inflammation in the body. Experts warn that inflammation is linked to many chronic illnesses, including arthritis, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s.