Tag Archives: snack foods

5 Clean and healthy snack ideas – Infographic

I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.

Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it. 

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Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.

I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?

Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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Bored People Reach for Snacks – Study

The principle use it or lose it is a valuable one when it comes to health. It applies to all our muscles because we are just organic machines after all. Turns out that when we are bored, our minds are not stimulated and bad food cravings arise. So we need to exercise our brains, too.

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Nuts to you is a good thing …

People crave fatty and sugary foods when they are bored.

That is the conclusion of research being presented this week at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society by Dr. Sandi Mann from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Dr. Mann and her fellow authors, Faye Ibbitson and Ben Edwards, also from UCLan, conducted two studies of boredom and food choices.

In the first study the researchers asked 52 participants to complete a questionnaire on their food preferences before and after completing the boredom-inducing task of repeatedly copying the same group of letters.

In the second study they asked 45 participants to watch either a boring or a funny video, during which a range of healthy and unhealthy snacks were available. The bowls were weighed before and after each trial to how much of each snack had been eaten.

The results from the first study showed people were more likely to express a preference for unhealthy foods like potato chips, sweets and fast food after completing the boring task.

The results from the second study showed that the participants who had watched the boring video ate significantly more unhealthy food.

Dr Mann said: “These results are in line with previous research suggesting that we crave fatty and sugary foods when we are bored. This strengthens the theory that boredom is related to low levels of the stimulating brain chemical dopamine and that people try to boost this by eating fat and sugar if they cannot alleviate their boredom in some other way.

“People designing health education campaigns to encourage us to make healthier food choices need to take boredom, including boredom in the workplace, into account. Bored people do not eat nuts.”

In this instance, the expression nuts to you is a good thing.

Please check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for more.

Tony

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How I Gained More Than 2 Pounds Watching the Super Bowl

This is a blast from the past. It happened to me a couple of years ago, but I thought it might make for a good warning for you ahead of Super Bowl 50 this weekend

I knew I was going to be snacking watching the game, so I went to the health club that morning and did 30 minutes on the rower to put an extra 300 calories into the bank. I also had a small but reasonable lunch to leave room for snacks. As it turned out that wasn’t even close to enough.

So, what went wrong?

Well, I went to a Super Bowl party. There was good company, good conversation, a good ball game and really good snacks.

To start with, because I was enjoying everything mentioned above, I got carried away with the salty snacks. Rippled potato chips and a bowlful of delicate savory potato crisps. There were also some wonderful little hot dogs called Lil Smokies. Enjoying these savory snacks, of course, I had to wash them down with a beer and glass after glass of soda. I remember thinking the soda glass didn’t hold very much because I had to keep refilling it.

The fact is, I completely lost my focus. I was so into the experience of the afternoon, I didn’t pay attention to how much I was eating and drinking. Mindful eating, anyone? I certainly wasn’t practicing it. This carrot sticks not pretzel sticks or potato chips.

It began to dawn on me when dinner was served and I filled up my plate with Italian sausage, meatballs and stuffed shells (a variation on lasagna). I actually felt so full that I had trouble finishing my dinner. I never feel that way.

My overindulgence was twofold. Because I ate all those salty snacks, I had to drink a ton of soda. Not smart and more not smart.

The next morning I tipped the scale at 154.9 lbs, that is 2.8 lbs more than on Super Bowl morning. Because I weigh myself daily, I knew that while I had eaten a lot, I hadn’t eaten that much more. Remember, fluctuations in daily body weight can also reflect elimination and water retention. I am sure I had retained water with all that salt and diet soda.

Two days later, I was back down to 152.5 lbs, a much more reasonable number.

Tony

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Is Hummus Good For You?

Everyone is familiar with hummus, right? That pasty substance made from crushed garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and sesame seeds and spices. Years ago you had to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant to get it, but now lots of restaurants serve this as a tasty appetizer with pita bread. You can even pick it up at the supermarket.

I am here to suggest that you take some home. Not from the restaurant. You can find it on many grocer’s shelves. I get the excellent Sabra brand at Costco in 2 lb tubs. Sabra calls this their secret recipe. I don’t know about that, but I do consider it the most delicious hummus I have ever had.
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But that is personal. Hummus itself is really good for you no matter the brand.

According to Wikipedia, “Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C, and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the chickpeas. Depending on the recipe, hummus carries varying amounts of monounsaturated fat. Hummus is useful in vegetarian and vegan diets and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it serves as a complete protein.”
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Tips on How to Eat at a Buffet

There is a buffet at a riverboat not far from where I live and I stopped by for lunch today after playing. I am always fascinated at the way folks at a buffet not only fill their plates, but stack the food on top as if they won’t be allowed to take more than one helping.

As it is ‘all you can eat‘ I always have to fight temptation to eat ‘all I can.’

You really need to engage your decision-making faculties at a buffet or you can go overboard very easily by overeating

Here is how today’s battle went. A bowl of oatmeal to start. Not fancy but very tasty the way they make it. Also, nutritious and slightly filling to take the edge off my appetite. No sense handicapping myself further.
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Everything You Wanted to Know About Calories, but Were Afraid to Ask – Infographic

I ran across this Calorie infographic on the web and thought you might enjoy it as much as I did.

I like that it shows some activities and how many calories you burn per hour.

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20 Snacks That Burn Fat – Infographic

Everybody does it. Who doesn’t like to snack? It can make a football game more fun to watch, but it can submarine your best laid weight loss plans. I hope you enjoy this snacking infographic. To read more detail on snacking check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. With apologies to Sergio Leone.

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Tony

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Super Bowl Sunday Snacking

What are you going to be snacking on during the big game?

According to The Supermarket Guru, “It’s estimated that on Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will consume more than double their average daily snack amount; and the average “armchair quarterback” will consume nearly 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat from snacks alone- not counting meals. To burn that off, you’d have to run for about an hour and 45 minutes!”

Pigs in a blanket – One of the top five fan snack choices

Bing.com says the top five game day snacks are Buffalo wings, pizza, nachos, chili, and pigs in a blanket. I hope for your sake that you are not going this high calorie count empty nutritional value route.

I have written about snacking here before. There was Targeted Snacking in June and Smart Snacking in March. Click on the links for some positive ideas on snacks for the big game.

WeightWatchers suggests, “You can still enjoy some football fare: a chicken wing or two, some chips and dip, a slice of pizza and a cold one. Just don’t overindulge — eat and drink reasonably, keep track of what you chow down on ….

“Consider parking a few blocks from the party or heading outside for a walk instead of watching for the next wardrobe malfunction at halftime (that’s what DVRs are for anyway).”

Tony

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Super WebMD Item on Food Frauds

Regular readers know that I have written lots of posts based on WebMD items. I think their latest one – Food Frauds That Can Wreck Your Diet is one of their best.

Here are some of the highlights:

Caesar Salads: “You might think that because it’s a salad, it’s fine. But just a small bowl has 300-400 calories and 30 grams of fat, thanks to loads of dressing.”

Banana chips are not a healthy fresh fruit snack

Banana chips are not a healthy fresh fruit snack

This is an element in most salads. You really need to watch out for how much salad dressing you add.

Fresh Smoothies: “That berry blend at a smoothie shop can have a whopping 80 grams of sugar, 350 calories or more, little protein, and often no fresh fruit. Fruit concentrates are often used instead of fresh fruit.”

Energy Bars: They recommend, “Choose bars that have 200 calories or less, some fiber, and at least 5 grams of protein, which helps provide energy when the sugar rush fades.”

Latte with 2% Milk: “Reward yourself with whipped cream on top. But this trade-off still adds up to 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat in a 20-ounce white chocolate mocha. That’s more than a quarter-pound burger with cheese.”

In my opinion, designer coffee drinks are really diabolical when it comes to watching your weight. I found out years ago that more often than not they set you back instead of helping you out.

Microwave Popcorn: “The word “snack” can be a little misleading on microwave popcorn. One popular brand packs 9 grams of fat into each “snack size” bag.”

This is another calorie trap. Popcorn is usually a healthy snack, depending on how you fix it. The microwave way, while very fast, is one of the worst in terms of health. Lots of bad fat and calories.

Banana Chips: “Deep-fried bananas don’t look greasy, but just one ounce has 145 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat: about the same as a fast-food hamburger.”

How can anything made from fresh fruit be a calorie bomb? Easy, deep fry it. WebMD suggests snacking on a fresh banana for four times the food, no fat and only 100 calories.

There are a total of 21 of these examples of what they term food frauds. I have picked out the ones most meaningful to me. Do yourself a favor and go back and click on the link for the full series. They also give suggestions on how to tweak them to make them less unhealthy.

As always, it pays you to be alert to serving size and portion control. I grew up snacking and most of the weight problems that I experienced resulted from that.

Check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for more on this.

Tony

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26 Low Calorie Snacks – Infographic

As regular readers know, I am a big snacker. It was a major problem for me when I was heavy, but no more. After you finish with this wonderful list of better than two dozen low calorie snacks, check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (with apologies to Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood).

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Tony

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55 Healthy Snacks Under 200 Calories – Infographic

As an inveterate snacker, I have written a number of posts on healthy snacking. Check out my Page – Snacking – The good, the bad and the ugly for more details.

I ran across this infographic on Pinterest and thought you might find the information helpful in your weight control efforts. Remember studies have shown that dieters who grazed on limited calorie snacks every few hours suffered from less hunger pains than the ones who limited themselves to only three meals a day. You don’t have to suffer to lose weight. Be a little thoughtful and you can have your cake and eat it, too … just not too much.

Here is a list of the highlights:

One slice of homemade banana bread = 170 calories

One cup of fat free yogurt and a tablespoon of honey = 160 calories

One square of dark chocolate and one ounce of dried cherries = 155 calories

One 100 calorie whole wheat pita with 2 tablespoons hummus = 170 calories

One serving of pretzels dipped in spicy mustard = 120 calories

Two large hard-boiled eggs = 155 calories

One Cup watermelon cubes sprinkled with feta cheese and chopped dill = 115 calories

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Tony

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9 Rules Of Smart Snacking

Our Better Health

BY JEANETTE BRONÉE     JULY 28, 2014

As a health and nutrition consultant, two big questions I’m always asked are: When should I snack? and What should I snack on? Snacking often ends up being more like erratic eating so here are some tips to help you snack smartly:

1. Snack when your hunger is real.

When there is too much time between meals, you might need a bite to hold you over. The stomach takes three to four hours to empty, so if your next meal is five hours away, eat a little. If you under-eat or wait too long, watch out for over-snacking. You don’t want a snack to turn into brunch or dinner.

2. Snack when your blood sugar is low.

How can you tell? If your meals are high in starch or sugar, you might get low blood sugar shortly after eating, a swing that…

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What About the New Costco Trek Mix?

I know this comes as no surprise to regular readers, but I have stumbled upon yet another tasty and healthy treat at Costco. This time it is the “Trek Mix.” Like the Clif Mojo Bars I wrote up not long ago, these also boast a sweet and salty taste. I guess that is the new trend – both sweet and salty.

I was impressed at the quality of the ingredients. This is directly from the package- “Kirkland Signature Trek Mix contains the following quality ingredients: Chocolate Chips that are made from 51 percent cacao, real vanilla, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a delicious chia cinnamon granola cluster.”

trek mix

I don’t know if that sounds good to you, but my girlfriend and I opened the package and started eating them on the drive home from Costco. They were that good.

Here is the nutritional breakdown:
One 30 gram, 1/4 cup, one ounce serving provides
Calories 150
Total Fat 9 grams
Saturated Fat 2 grams
No trans fat or cholesterol
Sodium 20 mg
Total carbohydrate 15 grams
Dietary fiber 2 grams
Protein 4 grams

I can attest to the taste. These are delicious. We had to finally close up the bag for fear of wrecking our appetities before dinner. I was particularly impressed with the meager amount of sodium – only 20 mgs. It seems to me that everything I eat these days has at least 1000 mg of sodium. High salt/sodium intake is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that adults stay under 1500 mg of sodium per day, and never take in more than 2,300 mg a day.

As always you are invited to share your experience with these snacks.

To read further on the subject of snacks, I invite you to check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Tony

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Why Do We Eat, and Why Do We Gain Weight?

No cue is unchangeable. Altering the environment in which you live and work, Lowe suggests—shopping for less-energy-dense foods, putting the Doritos out of reach on the top shelf, changing your commute so that you don’t drive by the doughnut shop—can go a long way toward changing the patterns of hunger that have become ingrained in your routine.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Maria Konnikova wrote in The New Yorker …..

Here are a few of the things that can make you hungry: seeing, smelling, reading, or even thinking about food. Hearing music that reminds you of a good meal. Walking by a place where you once ate something good. Even after you’ve just had a hearty lunch, imagining something delicious can make you salivate. Being genuinely hungry, on the other hand—in the sense of physiologically needing food—matters little. It’s enough to walk by a doughnut shop to start wanting a doughnut. Studies show that rats that have eaten a lot are just as eager to eat chocolate cereal as hungry rats are to eat laboratory chow. Humans don’t seem all that different. More often than not, we eat because we want to eat—not because we need to. Recent studies show that our physical level of hunger, in fact, does not correlate strongly…

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Harvard Offers 7 Ways to Snack Smarter

“I love to snack. I bet you do, too. Yet, some 60 percent of us are overweight including 30 percent who are actually obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition. I fear that snacking is the reason for a good deal of those statistics.” Such is the opening paragraph from my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Check it out for lots more on this important topic.

Now comes the Harvard HEALTHbeat with their list of 7 Ways to Snack Smarter. Their item says, “It’s a great idea to choose snacks wisely. But many foods that seem to be a great nutrition value aren’t. Bran muffins and cereal bars can be packed with unhealthy fats and added sugar. Fat-free foods often contain lots of added salt and sugar.”
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I put it in the blog because it has some excellent suggestions. Regular readers know I am a big fan of nuts, seeds and grains as they are super nutritious.

Here are Harvard’s 7 tips for smarter snacking:

1. Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks — such as whole-grain low-salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high-fiber, whole-grain cereals — can give you some energy with staying power.

2. Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole-grain toast topped with low-sugar jam? Low-sugar granola also makes a quick snack. I think this has great possibilities.

3. Try a “hi-low” combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something very light, like apple slices or celery sticks.

4. Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small. Because nuts and seeds leave you full, they actually can result in your eating less.

5. The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole-grain crackers (carbohydrates) with some low-fat cheese (protein and fat). These balanced snacks tend to keep you feeling satisfied. I think that  ‘satisfied feeling’ goes a long way toward weight control.

6. Snack mindfully. Don’t eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal.

7. You can take it with you. Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.

Harvard offered these tips in a marketing flyer on their 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating.

Tony

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New Research: Avocadoes May Improve Satiety and Reduce Snacking

These research findings provide support for the emerging benefits of avocados,” said Nikki Ford, PhD, Director of Nutrition at the Hass Avocado Board (HAB). “These results further complement our research efforts in weight management and diabetes as well as our continued work to explore the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans.”

For the record I advocate avodados. Check out the following posts:
Chicken avocado sandwich: Mr. Lazy Cook
Are avocados good for you?
What is a tasty avocado salad? Mr. Lazy Cook
Vita Mix – green smoothies
Diet and exercise tips for prostate help from Harvard
Finally, I have a Page – Snacking -The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

New research published in the Nutrition Journal reports adding one-half of a fresh avocado to a lunch may have helped healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal. The study was funded by the Hass Avocado Board.

The pilot study, “A Randomized 3×3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults,” compared the effects of incorporating fresh Hass avocado into a lunch—either by replacing other foods or by simply adding it to the meal— to the effects of eating a standard lunch to determine how avocado consumption would influence satiety, blood sugar and insulin response and subsequent food intake. The subjects were 26 healthy, overweight adults.

Researchers found that participants who added half of a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to…

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