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Sep 3, 2008

Choose Healthy Snacks

You enable yourself to choose a healthy snack by purchasing healthy foods from the grocery store! By making pre-emptive healthy decisions, you increase your likelihood of eating healthily when it actually comes to the fact.

   Eat before you leave. When you go grocery shopping, make sure you are not hungry! If you are hungry when you go grocery shopping you are more prone to buy junk food.
    Add healthy ideas. If someone else shops for your household, politely suggest a list of healthy foods to guide their shopping decisions. This list should include many green vegetables (potatoes and corn are not green vegetables, so they don't count), a variety of fruits (limit the bananas), whole grain foods, lean meats, unsalted nuts (peanuts and cashews don't count) etc.
   Cut down on the junk food. If you find the transition from junky food to healthier food too extreme, begin by buying less unhealthy foods. For example, instead of Pringles™ buy baked tortilla chips; instead of ordering take out pizza, buy a veggie pizza at the store.
    Avoid buying or accepting sweet and fatty foods! If these things aren't in your house then you can't be tempted by them! Especially dangerous foods that should be avoided are ice cream, cookies, any leftover desserts, and candy.
    Develop a routine of self control. So now that you have striven to keep unhealthy foods out of the house to begin with, you must focus on developing a strong sense of self control because you will not always be in controlled situations. Start by focusing less on food. If you look forward to coming home from wherever you have been and having a nice little snack; stop this destructive habit! The more you think about food, the more you build up a temptation to overeat. Think of eating as a necessity, not a comfort thing. Drink tea, coffee or water to soothe yourself on returning home.
    Match the healthy psychology about snacking with action. You can still allow yourself snacks, but eat slightly less and less frequently. A self-test to see if you're really hungry: if you search around the refrigerator and pantry, you are not really hungry; you're just eating compulsively. If you have a particular snack in mind, like eating an orange, you probably really do need nourishment. This is not to say, however, that just because you are craving ice cream it is alright to eat it. Remember to observe the distinction between mouth-hungry and stomach-hungry.
    Keep the content of your snacks healthy. Try to balance them according to your meals. For example, if you ate cereal at breakfast, a cheese sandwich at lunch, and macaroni and cheese for dinner, you shouldn't have yogurt as a snack. Your best bet is to have a piece of fruit, snack bar, or a tasty vegetable, like carrots or baby tomatoes.
    Remember the crucial steps in eating spur-of-the-moment healthy snacks: first, be sure you buy predominantly healthy foods. This means avoiding anything the has a lot of trans fat, calories, or starch (especially sugar). Second, try to exercise self-control. Too much of anything is bad for you, so don't eat huge snacks. Third, don't focus or depend on your snacks. Only eat them when you are actually hungry. Fourth, when you do eat snacks, eat something that will supply you with nutrients lacking from your meals. Finally, you can always count on whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables, and most unprocessed foods to be relatively healthy.

     If you slip up and eat something really bad, it's absolutely ok unless you make it a habit!
     Don't engage in the practice of social eating. If you're at a party, avoid the appetizer dish (usually finger foods have an enormous amount of calories).
    Here are some ideas: walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts (all unsalted), oranges, apples, banana, raw veggies (carrots, celery).
    If all else fails, keep some gum handy. It's five calories is quite a contrast to the hundreds you could consume from an unneeded snack. Also, strongly flavored teas can assist, such as peppermint, because they take away the dryness and tastelessness of your tastebuds and give you a sense of having enjoyed something

    Ice cream tends to be an addictive trap. Once you are used to having it every day, you begin to crave it. To curtail this problem, don't allow yourself daily access to ice cream (i.e. don't keep it in your freezer regularly).
    If you didn't already know this, oil is liquid fat. So watch out for food products that claim they're healthier because they have vegetable oil added.
    Don't let the term "partially hydrogenated" confuse you, either. This is just a fancy way for saying "saturated fats added".
    Popcorn is delicious and healthy, when you don't add liquid butter (again, this is fat). Try sprinkling a little parmesean cheese on top for flavor.

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