Regular snacking is vital to a healthy and active lifestyle. Fitness-friendly snacks should be quick, delicious, and balanced to satisfy your exercise and nutrition needs (as well as your hectic schedule). Active women should aim for snacks in the 100- to 200-calorie range (active men may need a bit more) and keep in mind, you may need to eat up to two snacks a day between meals to keep your energy levels steady all day long.
Besides being a great source of nutrients, snacks provide an energy boost and satisfy mid-day hunger. To maintain consistent blood sugar levels, you shouldn’t go more than three hours without eating. A snack can help keep your blood sugar at adequate levels needed for optimal energy. If you have a small appetite or limited energy, eating several (five – six) small meals including snacks may be a better approach than the traditional three meals a day.
Plan carefully. Buy a variety of tasty, ready-to-eat foods when you shop, and keep them nearby.
Adjust meals. When you add a snack, make the next meal smaller rather than just adding calories.
Make snack calories count. Snack on foods that fill the nutrient gaps in your day’s eating plan. For example, eat fruit at snack time if your meals do not include it.
Go easy on high-calorie snacks. Foods like candy, chips and sugar-sweetened beverages often contain solid fats and added sugars without giving you many nutrients. Have these only occasionally.
Snack when you’re hungry – not because of stress or boredom. Exercise can be a helpful alternative for feeding those emotional urges.
Eat smart portions. Choose single-serve containers, or measure a serving in a bowl rather than eating directly from the package.
Quench your thirst. Water, low-fat or fat-free milk, 100-percent juice and herbal tea are a few options.
Mix it up. Include a variety of snacks from each food group, such as fresh fruit, air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers, a dried fruit and nut mixture, string cheese or fat-free yogurt.