Instead of turning to fast food, go for healthy snacks – foods that are high on nutritional value (protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber) but relatively low in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. Delhi-based nutritionist Ritika Samaddar says, “Healthy snacking has numerous benefits: it helps to curb cravings, prevents overeating. Moreover, it also help children to be active through the day as snacking on healthy foods keeps the blood sugar even without the highs and lows”, according to Hindustantimes.
Careless snacking, on the other hand, can easily lead to overeating. “Snacking out of habit or boredom rather than out of hunger often leads to weight gain. Also, snacking on calorie dense foods leads to excess weight,” she adds.
Here are some healthy foods you can keep handy:
Fruits: A tasty gift of nature, fruits are fibre rich and loaded with antioxidants that prevent a variety of disease, from cancers to colds. “Naturally packaged for convenience, you can use fruit as a carry along mid-morning or evening snack as well to reduce hunger cravings and intake of off the shelf junk foods,” says Mumbai-based fitness expert and nutritionist Madhuri Ruia.
Sweet potato: This is a high fibre nutrient and carbohydrate dense tuber rich in several nutrients like Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, iron and magnesium, all of which help with energy metabolism. “Very useful for those who watch carb intake as these can work as a substitute for bread and chapati. Its fibrous, compact structure provides satiety and could go a long way in reducing overall calorie intake without reducing energy levels,” adds Ruia.
Yoghurt: A wonderful probiotic or a food that is rich in calcium and good healthy bacteria, yogurt is beneficial in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. “Yogurts are a must-have for those who need to take antibiotics frequently, as antibiotics upset intestinal flora and contribute to the overgrowth of bad bacteria. It is usually safe for the lactose intolerant as well”, explains Ruia.
Almonds: They are nutrient dense, low calorie, and a great source of healthy fat, fibre, protein, magnesium, and Vitamin E. “An ideal mid-day or evening snack, you can have up to 2 tbs or 23 almonds a day to control cravings, improve blood sugar control and regulate weight and blood cholesterol,” recommends Ruia. Have this crunchy nut by itself, combine with oats and protein shakes or simply sprinkle over salads.
Eggs: “Egg protein is high in quality and is 100% bioavailable in the body. It is also low in calories – (just 75 calories per egg) and is a rich source of the Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, B6, B12 and several minerals,” says Ruia. An egg for breakfast is a good way to start your day.
Granola bars: These are a convenient, high fibre high energy nutritious snack. “Most bars are rich with oats, a high fibre, low glycaemic grain, and also contain nutritious almonds and seeds,” adds Ruia. Granola bars are great to stave off evening sweet cravings as well as post cardio.