Talkeetna: (907) 733-2273 ~ Willow: (907) 495-4100 ~ Wasilla: (907) 376-2273

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Go Ahead – Snack! …With Healthy Choices!

French Fries

Nutritious snacks don’t have to be boring or bland. No, really! In the right portion sizes, delicious and nutritious snacks can be part of your healthy eating plan. With our busy lives, we tend to opt for instant meals or fast food, but these choices only fill our bellies without satisfying hunger or cravings. Why? Simply because that food does not contain substantial nutrition. This habit results in multiple physical ailments and fuels the American obesity epidemic; not only because one eats more than enough, but also because the diet is so alarmingly out of balance.

Snacks are foods that we eat between meals. Typically, snacks are like mini-meals that provide energy boosts throughout a busy day. Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of the kinds of food we choose on the go. To get started, remember these five tips to healthy snacking:

1. Plan ahead.
This applies to many things in your life. You wouldn’t hop in your car and drive to Fairbanks or Anchorage without checking your fuel level, right? To start, fill your cupboards and refrigerator with ready to eat, healthy snacks like fruit (fresh or dried), fresh vegetables, nuts, salads, and yogurt.

2. Watch your portion sizes.
It’s easy when food comes in a box or bag to devour what’s inside without recognizing the portion size. A good trick to avoid this is by measuring out a portion and returning the container to the shelf. This way, you ensure control over the amount of food you eat.

(What’s a healthy portion?)

3. Listen to hunger cues.
Our brain often signals us to eat even though we are not hungry; sometimes we think we SHOULD be hungry just because of what the clock says. If you aren’t paying attention to your body, this can lead to uncontrolled weight gain! Sometimes hunger pangs can mean that your brain is signaling you to drink water rather than reach for a snack.

4. Avoid stress snacking.
Munching while working, driving, studying, or watching tv is NOT a good habit. It is far too easy to lose track of how much you have eaten when you are focused on something else! Even if you’re munching on something healthy, too much can still be bad for you. Try drinking more water to avoid these cravings and distract yourself, measuring out a recommended portion, or practice focusing on tasks without the snacks.

5. Want something crunchy? Choose veggies or fruit over chips!
Make your very own, unprocessed veggie or fruit snacks by simply cutting fresh fruit, like apples, or fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumbers. Mix them up for variety – you may find new combinations that become favorites! These foods are not only nutritious but refreshing as well.

Good health does not happen overnight, and it takes self-control and dedication to be healthy. Do not rush yourself, make easy and gradual steps to better health. This way, you can slowly weed out bad habits by forming new, healthier ones.

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