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Wednesday 25 June 2008

Balancing Snacking With Physical Activity For A Healthy Lifestyle

Balancing work, family life, and leading a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. In addition to fitting all of your responsibilities into the day, it's important to eat nutritious, tasty meals, and to include regular physical activity to help you look and feel your best.

Include a wide variety of healthful snacks in your eating pattern. Snacking on grain-based snacks, for example, can help maintain energy levels while providing vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. Regular physical activity promotes overall fitness, and a cardiovascular workout helps keep your heart healthy.

Balance Good Nutrition With Good Taste.
Nutrition experts recommend choosing a wide variety of foods from all the food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid. It makes good health sense to moderate total fat intake. Remember cutting down on fat doesn't mean cutting back on taste. Today there are lots of good-tasting, low-fat, nutritious snacks available.

Use the Food Guide Pyramid as your "snack guide." The pyramid provides you with a practical tool to help you include a broad selection of foods.

Here are some suggestions:
Go for the grains.
Nutrition experts recommend 6-11 daily servings of grains, including bread, rice, cereal and pasta. To reach this goal, you can include plenty of grain-based snacks that are low in fat and calories, like graham crackers, pretzels, and fat-free flavored rice cakes.

Be a fan of fruits and vegetables.
The pyramid recommends two or four servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables each day. Snack on bananas, peaches, carrots, or green and red pepper strips. Don't forget juices--try a glass of fruit or vegetable juice to help meet serving recommendations.

Don't forget dairy.
Include snacks from the milk, yogurt and cheese group. To help meet your daily calcium requirement, choose two to three servings of dairy products each day. Snack on low-fat yogurt, or have a low-fat or skim milk shake or a slice of cheese on a cracker.

Make Snacking a Part Of Your Active Day.
There are easy ways to make snacking work for you, which is especially important for an active lifestyle. Light snacks help keep you going whether you're at home or work, and especially when you're planning to exercise.

Here are some tips for incorporating snacks into a healthy lifestyle:

Snack for energy.
Include a small snack two to three times a day to help keep up energy levels.

Remember that juice counts.
A glass of fruit or vegetable juice counts as a serving, too. Keep some in the fridge so you can grab one any time.

Snack with a friend.
Take a snack break with a friend. By snacking with someone, you can remind each other to eat healthful snacks and take time out of your busy day to "catch up."

Stash a snack.
Keep snacks in a desk drawer at work or even in a briefcase or carryall, so you're ready when the munchies hit. Be sure to toss a couple of snacks into your duffel bag when you're going to work out.

Pack snacks in the car.
Snacks are fun to share with the carpool gang. Pack the car with some whole-wheat bread sticks, fat-free flavored rice cakes, or fresh apples, bananas, grapes and whole baby carrots.

Have a quick breakfast.
No time for breakfast? Try a new take on the traditional morning meal with a snack-like breakfast, like individual packs of low-fat yogurt, a bagel with preserves, and a glass of fruit juice.

Treat yourself.
Enjoy an evening snack, especially something sweet, after dinner. Savor some fig bars, fat-free caramel corn cakes, or low-fat frozen yogurt.

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