Dr. Susan’s Health Tip: Healthy Snacks

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Would you like to eat delicious snacks that help you boost your energy, improve your mood and won’t cause weight gain?

Then, I have some great suggestions! Along with being delicious, these snacks will also provide you with many essential nutrients and help to balance your female hormones and blood sugar level.

Snacks have become a major part of our food intake. A 2011 study found that between-meal food and beverages now total a quarter of our daily caloric intake, virtually creating a fourth meal each day. This adds up to almost 600 extra calories each day for many of us. So choosing snack foods wisely has now become increasingly important.

Unfortunately, many common snack foods like chips, dip, pizza, hot wings, cookies, candy bars, ice cream and soft drinks are full of too much sugar, saturated fat, salt and unneeded calories. Refined, overly processed and fast foods are also high in fat and contain too few nutrients.

The best snacks should be high in essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fiber, complex carbohydrate, essential fatty acids and high quality protein. Healthy snacks are also rich sources of antioxidants that prevent wear and tear on our cells and slow down the aging process.

Great snacks include plain, nondairy yogurt with fresh fruit slices, or unsweetened granola as toppings. Raw nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds with raisins, dried apricots or other dried fruit make. I love almond or peanut butter on apple slices or sliced bananas- absolutely delicious!

Other great snacks include hummus, bean or yogurt based dips with salsa, fresh crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery sticks, green and red pepper slices, radishes, cherry tomatoes and raw cauliflower. Many healthy dips are also great with baked, low salt chips or rice crackers.

Water packed tuna on rice cakes and hard boiled eggs are nutrient-rich high protein snack options. If you want a high protein vegetarian option, consider a cup of lentil or black bean soup for a hearty and delicious snack.

My favorite snack is a delicious fresh fruit smoothie with ground flaxseeds, nondairy milk and protein powder. It is full of healthy nutrients and keeps me full and energized between meals. Love, Dr. Susan

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