Tue, Oct 23rd 2012 11:45 am
Healthy snacking can be an important part of any diet. Besides adding much needed nutrients, healthy snacks can curb your appetite preventing you from overeating at your next meal. But be careful of the following 3 snack foods, although they are a much healthier option than traditional confectionary fare, they are high in calories and can cause weight gain if portion size is not limited.
Dried fruit: Although dried fruit has numerous health benefits, it is also extremely high in sugar and calories. In addition, the drying process can cause a significant loss of nutrients, specifically fiber, so this snack might not leave you satisfied in the same way a piece of fresh fruit will. If eating dried fruit, watch portion size, but when possible, replace dried fruit with a more satisfying piece of fresh fruit.
Frozen yogurt: Depending on the brand and the ingredients, there can be some health benefits to frozen yogurt, and it is a good substitute for ice cream once in a while. However, like most other foods, portion size matters. One serving is four ounces or a half-cup (which is rarely what they give you at the store) and can have upwards of 20 grams of sugar. Even if it’s fat-free, the calories add up quickly. And despite its name, frozen yogurt is closer in nutritional makeup to ice cream than regular yogurt.
Dark Chocolate: Research has shown that dark chocolate can improve heart health and lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, and increase blood flow to the brain. Furthermore, dark chocolate has more antioxidants per gram than green tea or red wine. The perfect snack food, right? Well, almost. Dark chocolate has about 162 calories per ounce. Instead of eating the whole bar, snack only a square or two a day. Also, look for dark chocolate with at least 60% cocoa.
Nuts: Nuts are an extremely healthy snack, but because they are high in calories, it is important to watch portion sizes. Familiarize yourself with the serving size of your favorite nuts (the recommended size is usually one ounce) and pack individualized bags ahead of time for portion control. Some good nuts to keep on hand are walnuts (14 shelled walnuts per serving – about 185 calories) or almonds (24 shelled almonds per serving – about 164 calories).