Thursday, 12 April 2007

Pack a snack to prevent overeating

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If there is one weight loss tip out there that I think should never be forgotten, it's this one: pack a healthy snack when you go out. Maybe it's because the car is an overeating trigger for me. It's too easy to grab a candy bar or run through a drive-thru when the day runs long, and having a piece of fruit, a small bag of whole grain cereal, or some other low calorie, nutritious snack saves me from having a high-sugar meltdown.

So what to pack? Here's a list to get you started. Fresh fruit tops the list as most portable snack food, but you can also prepare a few day's worth of cut veggies ahead of time and store them in single sized portions in the fridge for grab-and-go availability. Trail mix (homemade, not the fat-filled version they sell at the store) is another great option. Grab some quality whole grain cereal that's free from corn syrup and trans fats, throw in a few dried fruits, a dash of nuts, and you're good to go. Be mindful that dried fruits can be high in calories, and nuts are notoriously fatty (but in a good way) so keep the portions extra-light. (For reference, 1/8 of a cup of raw chopped walnuts has 100 calories. You wouldn't want more than a teaspoon or so in your trail mix!) Other good options, if you have at least five minutes, are whole wheat toast with a hint of peanut butter, smoothies, and if you're really desperate, energy bars (but check the food labels first).

Everyone's calorie needs are different, but in general snacks should be about 100-200 calories. Snacks should tide you over to your next meal, not become it. That said, the right kind of well-planned snacks can help you round out your daily nutrition, keep your energy levels up, and your hunger at bay all day long.

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