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Sweet Treats: Not Sweating What You Eat, Even On The Run

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Even if you pack you own lunch, there are those times when you crave something from the vending machine or coffee truck. But, experts suggest using caution before grabbing for your cash. Remember, most “snack food” isn’t good for you and can “sabotage” your diet and your health. On the other hand, making smart choices can enable you to eat healthy almost anywhere.

· The Vending Machine: Think pretzels in lieu of candy bars or chips. Just make sure they are plain and preferably unsalted. According to experts, this crisp treat can cater to your cravings for something crunchy without the extra calories, sugar, or trans fats. Plus, the smaller, single-sized bags make it easy to control your portions. Another option is a small bag of (preferably) unsalted peanuts or almonds, packed with protein and good-for-you-fats. Again, they’ll satisfy you craving for something crunchy while also filling you up. Last, but not least (but only if no other options are available) are whole wheat crackers with peanut butter. According to experts, while they “do” have more calories than some of the other approved snacks are loaded with protein, good fat, and some fiber, which will also help keep you feeling satisfied and full.

Steer clear of chips of any kind. According to experts they are greasy, low in fat and protein and fiber and some are high in the two most unhealthy fats, saturated fats and trans fats.

· Roadside rest stops: Great for a quick pit-stop and a quick “pick me up”, but they can also lead you astray with their bevy of “bad-for-you snacks”. But, if you look, they do offer some healthy options too. Experts suggest a low-fat yogurt or some low-fat string cheese and a hard boiled egg or two, or a piece of fruit. Of course there’s always skim milk and some pre-packaged trail mix, just be careful about the size you buy. Another good alternative is some low-sugar dry cereal such as Cheerios or Shredded Wheat. And, don’t forget about the small packages of nuts and/or a box of raisons for a high-fiber, filling snack.

Pass up the donuts, cakes, cookies and other sugar-packed goodies. These say experts not only give you an immediate crash after an immediate “high” but are also packed with unhealthy trans fats.

· Movie munchies: If you only go once in a blue moon, it may be okay to splurge, but if you’re a theatre buff, the only way to stay buff is by watching not only the movie, but what you snack on during it.

Experts suggest a child-sized popcorn without butter for a high-fiber snack that will easily satisfy you and keep you feeling full. Another option, say experts, though not necessarily “good for you” is a box of “Junior Mints”. While they don’t offer much in nutritional value, they are lower in fat and calories than other sweet snacks. Just make sure to watch your portions and preferably share the box.

Opt out of anything that’s “super-sized” or considered part of a “value pack” since most contain more calories than most of us should have for an entire day.

· Mall meals: Grapping a quick bite while out shopping may be a great way to bond, but your choices may be less than gratifying, especially if you plan on trying on some new cute outfits. Experts suggest splitting a sandwich, preferably a turkey or tuna sub on whole grain bread with mustard and a heap of healthy (preferably raw) veggies. Another option is low-cal sushi rolls such as salmon rolls and some edamame. Broth based veggies soups are also good alternatives but be weary of creamy, milky broths that tned to run high in fat, and calories. And, also be aware of the salt content.

Absolute “no-no’s” topping the list are greasy Chinese foods such as General Tso’s chicken and white rice, though steamed brown rice with veggies, even in a lobster sauce are ok.

· Stadium snacks: While it’s always best to eat before a game or a concert…who can avoid the appeal of stadium nuts or a ballpark frank. Well, according to experts, we all should. Though, they say, the nuts are okay.

According to experts peanuts in a shell are high in protein offering plenty of monosaurated fats sans the extra and un-necessary oil from roasting. Plus, removing the nuts from their casing means you’ll eat less, just remember to keep track and try not to exceed 20 whole nuts (with each shell containing 2 nuts)

Items to avoid include processed meats and nachos with melted cheeds. The latter contains 350 calories and 19 grams of fat for every six to eight chip serving, and is satiated with sodium

· Aerodynamic eats: Airplane food is anything but tempting and airport food is anything but “good-for-you” But, when it comes to grabbing something nutritious on the fly, experts suggest we “do” have options.

Experts suggest a protein or energy bar from the local magazine and news-stand, just make sure to read the ingredients and select one with les than 200 calories and three or more grams of fiber, avoiding however those that are chocolate coated, since they have an tendency to be packed with sugar.

Another good option is a good-old fashioned granola bar, preferably one containing a simple mix of oats, nuts, dried fruit, and honey or just grab a small package or bag of unsalted nuts. If you’re hankering for something more you can feast on a small slice of plain cheese pizza and, if it’s available, opt for whole wheat.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Sweet Treats: Not Sweating What You Eat, Even On The Run

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