While most of us make some attempt at watching what we eat for our meals, most of us disregard this when we eat snack foods. Eating unhealthy snacks on a regular basis can increase our chances of heart disease. People snack for a variety of reasons and what we eat when we snack can be influenced by the amount of stress, nervous eating, and as a result of boredom.
What foods do we like to snack on? We like to eat bags of cookies, pastries and donuts by the box full, bags of potato chips, pints of ice cream and other sugary, salty snacks. We even like to add dips for our chips and toppings to our ice cream. The recommended serving sizes on the back of the packages we take as a suggestion and ignore all the nutritional information. We try to justify that our bad snack habits are offset because we had a salad with low-fat dressing for lunch. Or that just one more cookie or chip will not make a difference. In fact just one more of any of these snacks does make a difference. That is why obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease have become such a problem. Eating these types of snacks once in a while is fine. That does not mean that you can have potato chips one day, ice cream the next, donuts the day after, and so on. It means that you should limit yourself to these snacks once every few weeks. We should also follow the serving sizes on the nutritional label and only eat one serving.
There are so many other healthy snack options available. Fresh fruits like bananas, cherries, strawberries, blue berries, oranges, grapes, apples, grapefruit, and watermelon can help to satisfy our sweet tooth. If we are snacking because of stress, try raw vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower. Do not dip these into dressings or other dips as this defeats the purpose of healthy snacks. Unsalted nuts like peanuts and almonds are another good snack choice. The best rule of thumb is to read the nutrition information on the snack. If it is high in cholesterol, sodium or saturated and trans fats, do not eat it.