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Healthy FoodsEnjoying a healthy snack is a great way to eat more fruits and vegetables, add needed vitamins and minerals to your diet and reduce the chance that you will overeat at your next meal! The old advice of "no snacking between meals" is gone, and snacking is not only acceptable, but it also has created a huge market for portion controlled snacks at the grocery store. Here's what you need to know to choose snacks that are healthy and delicious.

Be Prepared

Nothing will make your snack choice healthier than being prepared. Having good choices available when hunger hits will keep you from a trip to the vending machine, through the fast food lane or the local mini-mart for a high fat, high sodium option. Pack a healthy snack along with your brown bag lunch for work. Bring a snack along for a day of errands, and stock your cabinet with good choices for when hunger hits.

Portion It Out

An important key to healthy snacking is portion control. Keeping your snack at approximately 150 calories (200 for men) will help you control your weight. The 100 calories packaged snacks found in the grocery store can help, but you can make and portion your own calorie-controlled snacks for less money. Invest in a few small reusable containers for a "green" choice to packing your own snacks.

Pack a Nutritional Punch

Grabbing a snack is a response to hunger, but it is also a great opportunity to improve your overall nutrition. Include fiber to help keep you feeling full. Protein will keep blood sugars stable. An extra dose of calcium will help keep bones strong. Example: a small apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and a small glass of skim milk would be a great choice.

What to choose? Look for crackers made with whole grains and no hydrogenated oils, and enjoy them with a slice of reduced fat Swiss cheese. Fresh fruit is always a good choice, and string cheese is an easy to carry protein choice. Making your own dip - like hummus, salsa or veggie dip - will help you control the fat and salt. Cut up veggies with some homemade dip are easy to pack, and crunchy vegetables are great when you're stressed. Whole grain pretzels and a small yogurt combine the salty and sweet. A small portion of almonds and raisins can be a great mid-afternoon snack that delivers important omega 3 fatty acids, important for cardiovascular health. Look for a variety of healthy foods that you enjoy, and create your own snack menu!

Think of a snack as a "mini-meal," one that should be balanced, nutritious and delicious! Make sure you are snacking when you are hungry and not just out of habit. Include some of your favorite flavors into your snack: baked chips and fresh salsa if you like some heat to your food, small yogurt parfait if you like sweet. Take time each week to plan out meals and snacks for a complete approach to a healthy diet that gives you the nutrition you need and helps you to maintain a healthy weight. Being prepared with the right amount of a nutritious snack is an important key to an overall healthy diet.

We can help you find a health insurance policy that fits your needs and budget. Contact TCU Insurance Agency at (800) 772-8043 for more information on Indiana health insurance.
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