Snacks. You know you love them. As a kid you get snacks as treats. As an adult you take breaks for snacks. And if you’re an average American, 30% of your calories come from snacks, and are EMPTY OF NUTRITION.
The Agricultural Research Service is a major research arm of the USDA and conducts ongoing surveys of national eating habits. Recent analysis revealed that both men and women consumer around one third of their calories from food with no nutritional value. These empty calories come from processed fats and sugars, nutrients with almost no nutritional value.
No person has ever died from a pretzel deficit.
People do die, and get sick, from malnutrition. A good friend of mine (who happens to be a doctor) spends half his time in Rwanda and sees the results of undernutrition and malnutrition regularly. The empty calories in the American diet don’t just contribute to the all time record highs of obesity, diabetes and lifestyle diseases; empty calories block out nutritious calories (things like vegetables, fruits and whole grains – things with VITAMINS AND MINERALS).
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good potato chip/pretzel/cookie, but they absolutely do not make up one third of my calories. I’m not saying you should walk around starving and skip all snacks, but try to snack smart. Here are some tips:
- Snack on fruit instead – fruit is filled with antioxidants and vitamins that boost health. If you’re sugar sensitive choose careful, go for high fiber, low sugar, like apples and berries.
- Nuts. Don’t go nuts with it, they are high in fat and calories, but nuts have good fats and can be a healthy option. If you tend to eat the whole jar, take a bunch of sandwich bags and put one handful in each bag. One bag = one serving.
- Veggie chips. Kale and beets are my favorites. Thin vegetables, roasted until crisp with a bit of salt can satisfy a chip craving without the empty calories.
- Veggies. I still love to have a snack of carrots (vitamins and fiber) and peanut butter (a relatively healthy fat – and very filling).
Here is a collection of (mostly) healthy snack recipes that I’ve gathered over the years. Thank you internet!
What’s your favorite healthy snack?