Q: I run around all day, and rarely have time for a healthy meal. What are some good options for healthy snacks?

 

A: According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy snacks can be an important part of keeping your energy even throughout the day and managing your weight (even though they are not a meal replacement). For example, letting hunger build up might put you at greater risk for over-eating at mealtime.

 

It's usually best to avoid highly processed snack foods — including some snack bars with nutritional claims. (Always read the labels!) Unprocessed foods, such as nuts, generally require more energy to digest, thus reducing their caloric impact.

 

While processed or fast food may be tempting because they are quicker to eat and less expensive, eating healthy might save money in the long run in reduced medical expenses.

 

You could try keeping fruits and veggies washed, cut-up and ready to grab and go. They are usually low in calories, and high in fiber and nutrients.

 

Look for bite-sized produce at your grocery store, like baby carrots or snap peas, or create your own snack portions, such as a small bunch of grapes, or cut up an apple or bell pepper.

 

Also, research solidly supports noshing on nuts between meals. A handful or two of nuts can tide you over to your next meal.

 

My current favorite snack option is homemade trail mix of nuts, coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips, and sunflower seeds. I keep a container of this delicious treat in my bag so that it's handy for a nibble.

 

Remember: When you are hungry, you are most likely to eat what is handy. Try to avoid buying unhealthy snacks so that they aren't nearby to tempt you.

 

Keeping yummy, nutritious options readily available might be the most important step to healthier snacking.

 

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