Wednesday November 20, 2019

Stop Mindless Snacking With These 2 Essential Steps

Don't think of snacks as extras, instead consciously work healthy bites into your diet, and make some smart snacks a part of your food plan for the day.

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Snacks
New treatment shows promise against peanut allergy. Pixabay

Snacking is not a mindless pursuit. And unlike universally thought, snacks are not devoid of benefits. In fact, if done right, it can be a perfect way of incorporating important, often missed out nutrients to our daily diet. But for that to happen you need to become a smart snacker. Its a skill easily learned, as long as you master and follow the two essential smart snacking rules.

Kavita Devgan, a renowned nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi, lays down the rules of healthy snacking:

*Ensure that you choose to eat only those snacks that are made from right ingredients. This in fact is an accurate way of ensuring that the nutrients we need are added to our diet. A few of my favourite ingredients include Kaala Channa, nuts like almond, cashews and seeds, olive oil and whole grains.

* Kala Channa, a nutrition powerhouse, delivers a lot of fibre that helps regulate our blood sugar and is also loaded with nutrients that help save us from seasonal disorders by boosting our immunity.

Snacks
The best snacking to boost and maintain heart health is one low in refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods. Pixabay

The easiest way to get a stockpile of multiple vitamins and minerals, even difficult to find trace minerals, is to eat snacks that have nuts and seeds added liberally to them. Besides they also deliver high levels of essential fatty acids (EFA’s), wholesome fibre, and much needed good quality protein (with all essential amino acids). My personal favourites are almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and sesame seeds.

* It is always better to opt for truly baked, healthy and wholesome snacks as they are actually good for you. In fact, one of the best ways to lower fat consumption is to switch from deep fried snacks to baked snacks as they will help you keep both the calories and fat consumption down easily.

* Pick up snacks made in olive oil, as this is the smartest way to ensure omega 3 and to correct the good vs bad fat imbalance in our diet. It is the best way to keep our digestion humming along, keep constipation away and to keep cravings away. A snack made with whole grains (ragi, wheat, oats, jowar, amaranth, bajra etc.) is the best way to add nutrition to our diet and stay full for longer too.

* Make snacking a conscious activity. Snack mindfully, not mindlessly. It is essential that we not only snack smart but we also pick and select our snack smartly. So, wizen up to the misleading marketing messages and avoid snack packs that don’t deliver what is promised on the face of their pack.

Snacks
Eat good food. Pixabay

* Look out for promises and phrases like Fat-Free, Low in Calories and Lite snacks. Don’t take them on face value. All it takes is flipping the pack to the back and reading all ingredients, their proportions, style of making etc. to understand the health and calorie quotient of the snack you are picking up.

* Don’t think of snacks as extras, instead consciously work healthy bites into your diet, and make some smart snacks a part of your food plan for the day. This way they will work for you constructively. Finally, always focus on eating snacks that deliver something extra (yes more than just satisfaction and calories). That way you add value to your daily diet via the snacks that you eat and score some health too along the way.

Shikha Sharma, a dietician based out of Delhi, expresses her opinion on snacking carefully:

Also Read: A Diet Rich in Nutrients Helps in Living Longer: Study

* Focus on Clean Label. Consumers and regulators continue to put new pressures on food manufacturers, asking for even more information on the label. Consumers want to know the origin of their food. Food transparency strategies are now critical elements of the industry – no longer optional.

* Many varieties of snacks and breads sold in supermarkets have taken a huge hit in recent years as consumers are shifting to more health and wellness foods. More gluten-free and clean-label baked formulations are cropping up in stores, thanks to consumer demand for more transparent options that are convenient and more nutritious. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s Why Too Much Ultra-Processed Food Can Deteriorate your Heart Health

Ultra-processed foods are made entirely or mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats

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Ultra-Processed Food
Examples of Ultra-Processed Food include soft drinks, packaged salty snacks, cookies, cakes, processed meats, chicken nuggets, powdered and packaged instant soups and many items often marketed as "convenience foods." Wikimedia Commons

If you are eating too much Ultra-Processed Food, stop consuming it now as researchers have found that eating fast food is linked to lower heart health.

“Eating ultra-processed foods often displaces healthier foods that are rich in nutrients, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, which are strongly linked to good heart health,” said study research Zefeng Zhang from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

“In addition, ultra-processed foods are often high in salt, added sugars, saturated fat and other substances associated with increasing the risk of heart disease,” Zhang added.

Ultra-processed foods are made entirely or mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, hydrogenated fats, added sugar, modified starch and other compounds and include cosmetic additives such as artificial flavours, colours or emulsifiers.

Examples include soft drinks, packaged salty snacks, cookies, cakes, processed meats, chicken nuggets, powdered and packaged instant soups and many items often marketed as “convenience foods.”

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected between 2011 and 2016, researchers reviewed the results from 13,446 adults, 20 years of age and older, who completed a 24-hour dietary recall and answered questions about their cardiovascular health.

Ultra-Processed Food
If you are eating too much Ultra-Processed Food, stop consuming it now as researchers have found that eating fast food is linked to lower heart health. Pixabay

Researchers have found that for every five per cent increase in calories from ultra-processed foods a person ate, there was a corresponding decrease in overall cardiovascular health.

Adults who ate approximately 70 per cent of their calories from ultra-processed foods were half as likely to have ‘ideal’ cardiovascular health, compared with people who ate 40 per cent or less of their calories from ultra-processed foods.

“This study underscores the importance of building a healthier diet by eliminating foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages, cookies, cakes and other processed foods,” said Donna Arnett from the University of Kentucky in the US.

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The study is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 from November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US. (IANS)