Eating Healthy Snacks

cerealsDieting is not about restricting yourself, but rather choosing healthiest alternatives. Instead of snacking on foods that would eventually land on your waist, you can fight those cravings with delicious yet low calorie alternatives. Below are well known snacks and the healthier second choice which is just as good.

Bagels– Bagels have gotten bigger over the years and so has the calorie content. One bagel is equivalent to four to six slices of bread. Switch to a mini bagel and avoid 180 calories every morning. It may not be that much satisfying at first, but you will get used to it.

Chili beef- We do not recommend buying chili beef at your local supermarket or deli ( unless it is stated as “low- fat”). What we do advise is to make your very own chili beef with a few cooking modifications. Drain all the fat after browning the beef and rinse under cold running water to remove more fat. Adding beans- such as kidney beans and pinto beans- provide more fiber content without any additional fat. Throw in as many chopped veggies as you can, or you could even replace ground beef (or part of the beef) with textured soy crumbles.

Cereals– A healthy cereal requires three things. First, it has to be “whole” (check for this word in the first ingredient of the product, like whole oats or whole wheat). This means that the cereal is made primarily from unprocessed grains that contain more of its natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Second, a good cereal should have no more than 8 grams of sugar in ever serving. Finally, avoid any cereal that has trans fatty acids, which increases the risk of heart disease. In eating cereal, measure out one or two servings, then pour on fat- free milk or yogurt.

Cheese– Most fat in cheese is saturated, which clogs arteries and raises cholesterol levels. It’s actually easy to get 25% of your daily saturated fat requirement in just one ounce of cheese. For a healthier alternative, choose a reduced- fat version whenever possible.

Cheeseburgers– A healthier cheeseburger is actually a cheese-less burger! Remove the cheese on your burger and you avoid 50 extra calories, 3 grams of fat, and 200 milligrams of sodium. So remember to order hamburgers instead, and don’t even think of ordering a double cheeseburger. You can use fat-free refried beans and low-fat shredded cheddar cheese for your burger. You’ll save more than half the calories without sacrificing taste.

Chocolate- These snacks are actually good for your heart because of its antioxidant content. Dark chocolate- those with cocoa solids or chocolate liquor- are the healthiest choices, but it still contains more calories than you can count. Enjoy your chocolate in very small quantities, so nibble a part of the chocolate instead of eating the whole bar or you can use chocolate as a dip for fruits like strawberries or bananas.

Coffee– Drinking two “tall” caffe mochas a day is actually equivalent to about one-third of your daily calorie requirement. The healthy way to drink coffee is the traditional way- black, without sugar, cream, or even whipped cream. However, if you are not used to black coffee, try downsizing the calories, fat and sugar in your coffee. You can add skim milk instead of whole milk, choose the smallest cup available, and avoid whipped cream. If you want to lessen your sugar intake in your coffee, choose a Cafe Americano, which has only 15 calories and no sugar.

Cookies– We know we can’t contain ourselves to just one cookie. If we can the one that we eat is usually huge. There are at least 300 calories on every chocolate chip cookie. You can satisfy your cravings for these delights by consuming five mini- cookies, each having only 11 calories. Chew slowly and enjoy every morsel.

Cream- based sauces– When you are eating out, just order cream-based sauces- like carbonara for pasta- on the side. That way, you can control the amount of sauce you choose to eat. If you are making your own cream sauce at home, replace the cream with fat-free half and half or evaporated skim milk mixed with a little cornstarch to thicken.

Cream- based soups– Cooking healthy, low- fat cream soups are simple. Try using fat-free evaporated skim milk instead of cream and you have avoided 87 grams of fat and 620 calories per cup. For an even healthier soup, use pureed white beans or pureed potatoes or cauliflower instead of the cream. Thin the soup using skim milk to reduce the fat and calories, while increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake at the same time.

Donuts– Those round rings of perfection contains 180 calories. A glazed cake donut packs twice as many calories. Better to enjoy just one glazed donut hole for only 40 calories.

French Fries- It is almost impossible to eat just one French fry. When feeling the need to enjoy those delicious, crispy fried potatoes, think of the 350 calories you’ll be taking in. You can make your own homemade fries by slicing potatoes into strips, tossing them on a baking pan with a spritz of canola oil, then baking them in a 400 F oven until crisp. A cup of these homemade fries contains about 100 calories. You should also replace potatoes with sweet potatoes for a boost of antioxidants and vitamin A, or add garlic and other herbs for a spicy, crunchy potato treat.

Fried foods- We all know by now that fried foods are not the healthiest options, so choose other methods of cooking whenever possible. You can have your chicken grilled, your fish broiled, your veggies steamed and your potato chips baked. Use your oven to “fry” your foods by baking at a high temperature until crispy.

Ice Cream- Fat-free ice cream maybe a healthier alternative to this cool dessert but it has a gritty texture that a lot of people do not like. Frozen yogurt may sound healthy, but it’s actually packed with fat and sugar. What we recommend is to consume a fruit sorbet instead of ice cream. It not only saves you from 13 grams of unwanted fat and 100 calories, but the intense fruit flavors burst in your mouth. Just one scoop is enough.

Macaroni and cheese- You can enjoy mac n’ cheese the healthy way by creating a guilt- free cheese mixture of reduced- fat, strong flavored cheese (like sharp cheddar or Velveeta), fat-free ricotta cheese, nutmeg (or dry mustard), white pepper and evaporated skim milk. The end result is a creamy and cheesy sauce for your macaroni. If you prefer the neon-orange boxed versions, use skim milk and skip the added margarine or butter.

Nachos- A fully loaded nacho chip, complete with cheese sauce and salsa, contains 50 calories- half of which are from fat. To prepare nachos that are satisfying yet healthy, cut soft flour tortillas into wedges and crisp in a 400F oven for four minutes. Top your flour nachos with vegetables like tomatoes and onions as well as shredded carrots, lettuce, jicama, and green-yellow pepper strips.

Pasta– The healthy way of eating past is to reduce the portion size. Have a small dish of it rather than eating a platter full of pasta. Also, choose the whole-wheat pasta variety and opt for sauces that are low in fat and packed with vegetables.

Potato chips– The plainest of potato chips contains around 150 calories per serving. Substitute them with fat-free baked chips and avoid half of those calories. If you truly crave something crunchy and salty, opt for popcorn instead. One cup of salted, unbuttered popcorn only contains 55 calories.

Soda- The best alternative to unhealthy soda is to drink plain water instead. If your body craves for something bubbly, try carbonated mineral water. If you want to drink something sweet, try calorie- free flavored water or diet soda. Another bet to satisfy your soda fix is drinking milk, the calcium and vitamin D in it are essential to your health.

Sour Cream- Choose from either a reduced- fat or fat-free sour cream. A tablespoon of ordinary sour cream contains 26 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat; while one tablespoon of reduced- fat sour cream has only 20 calories, 2 grams of fat, and a gram of saturated fat. A tablespoon of fat-free sour cream has only 14 calories and no fat. Another good alternative to sour cream is plain and fat-free yogurt, which contains calcium and does wonders to your bones.