|balanced meals & smart snacking
A balanced meal includes three food groups, such as a protein, veggie, and whole grain, and often includes a healthy fat, like nuts or oil.
If you’re following a low carb diet you can substitute the whole grain with a serving of non-starchy vegetables.
Most adults & children snack multiple times a day. In fact, snacking makes up about 50% of all eating, which means the choices you make during snack time affect your health as much as your meals! It’s all too easy to snack on foods which don’t necessarily support your health goals. So, smart snacking is key to getting all your food groups and nutrients.
Most of us know which snacks are best left for the occasional indulgence (think potato chips, donuts, and that oh-so-tempting 3 o’clock candy bar). Smart snacks on the other hand are relatively lower in calories while packing a nutritious punch: fruits & veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and dairy. Go for snacks around 200 calories—just enough to keep away the cravings and stop you from overeating at your next meal.
So, you’ve come up with a nutritious snack that’s around 200 calories. You’re all set, right? Not so fast. To truly be a smart snacker, you need to set yourself up for success by making sure they’re easy and delicious. Two things are key: pre-portioned and portable so snacks are ready to go. Packing something you don’t love is like buying a pair of shoes that don’t fit. You have to want to eat your snack. So, make sure you’re choosing snacks that appeal to you and offer a variety of tastes and textures that make snacking into an experience.
The fiber and plant protein in nuts and seeds help you feel full, so enjoying them as a snack or sprinkled on oatmeal, yogurt, salads or soup can be a great way to help with weight management.
Almonds and peanuts are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which may help decrease damage to cells and slow the development of plaque in your arteries. And most nuts are a good source of the mineral magnesium, often linked to healthy blood pressure and diabetes prevention.
Many studies have shown that eating nuts and seeds improves cholesterol, reduces inflammation, and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Nuts and seeds have significantly more unsaturated fats than saturated fats. These healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats are linked to heart health. Among all plants, walnuts and chia and flaxseed contain some of the highest levels of Omega-3s, a special unsaturated fat shown to promote brain and heart health and reduce inflammation.