Thrive-Health Guide Southern West Virginia August 2020 - Page 5

in addition to the ubiquitous candy, pretzels, and chips long offered. Snacks may boost overall diet quality or lead to excess consumption of artery-clogging solid fats, added sugars, and sodium. Although health experts debate the health aspects of between-meal snacking, nearly all agree that the quantity and type of snack is of utmost importance. A recent study of 233 employees enrolled in a worksite wellness program found that the percentage of snacking calories from nuts, fruit, and 100-percent fruit juice was related to better diet quality, while percentage of calories coming from sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages was linked to poor diet quality. Choosing vegetables as a snack was associated with a lower BMI, while eating sweets conferred a higher BMI. When we consider choices carefully and are mindful of portions, snacking can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Being in tune with our bodies allows our internal clocks to report an accurate picture of hunger and fullness. Choosing more whole foods and balanced combinations helps sustain energy levels and gives us a strong desire to take care of our bodies. Snacks which combine protein, carbohydrate, and fat tend to keep us satisfied longer and meet our nutrient requirements. Pass on high-sugar, quick pick-me-ups, and processed foods, which are easy to overeat. Read food labels on popular “100 calorie” prepackaged snacks, as well. Some contain refined flour, added sugars and very few nutrients. For people attempting to control their weight long-term, it is crucial to balance eating frequency with amount consumed. The more often you eat, the less you should have at one time; otherwise you are just adding calories. If someone is, for instance, aiming to consume 1,200 calories for the day to lose weight and eats six times per day, that may mean only getting 200 calories per eating episode. Such a small lunch or dinner may leave you feeling unsatisfied. Keep these combinations in mind to provide energy and hunger-blasting nutrients: cottage cheese with fruit; hummus with whole grain crackers; nut butter on celery or apples sprinkled with a little granola; hard-boiled eggs; protein bars with limited ingredients; smoothies containing Greek yogurt or protein powder; Greek yogurt, fruit and nuts; toasted shelled soybeans or chickpeas; rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins. Visit to find a trained nutrition professional in your area for additional guidance. AUGUST 2020 • THRIVE • 5