RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Americans are snacking more than ever, according to recent data, which is why having healthy snacking habits is so improtant. Making use of some healthy snack recipes is another good move for anyone who wants to eat a healthy diet (which really should be everyone). For one thing, you can control the ingredients; you’ll know exactly how much oil was used and how much salt has been added. You can tailor spices and seasonings to your own palate, rather than having to stick to the commercially produced options. And best of all, by having homemade options in the cupboard and fridge, you can toss those tired, junky snacks and feel good knowing your nutritious noshes fit nicely into your healthy eating plan. Just be sure to bring some of your creations to work, too, so you have something to look forward to when hunger strikes and won't be tempted to hit the vending machine.
Snacking may even help you slim down. Studies have shown that people who don’t snack between meals may end up ingesting more calories overall. This may be because snacks can help control hunger and lead to choosing more reasonable portion sizes at mealtime. But make sure your snacks don’t exceed 100 to 200 calories, depending on your own personal daily caloric needs. And don’t fool yourself into thinking you can have more since it’s healthy. The truth is, we're lousy at estimating how many calories we're eating. In a Cornell University study, researchers gave movie-watching participants a bag of low-fat granola; half of the group received bags labeled “low-fat” and the other half’s bags were labeled “regular.” By the end of the film, those who believed they were downing a low-fat snack had consumed 50 percent more than the folks who thought they were eating a regular-fat version. The calorie difference? A total of 249 extra calories. So troubleshoot at the outset and don’t leave it to chance—portion out 100 to 200 calories’ worth of your snack into a bowl or a ziplock bag.
Homemade snacks definitely don’t have to be bland. In fact, spices like red pepper can be a boon to those trying to lose weight. In one study, adding red pepper to soup led to the consumption of fewer calories in subsequent meals. Spicy foods help slow down the eating process, giving you time to feel full before you consume too many calories. The hot pepper might even help you burn a few extra calories by heating up your body a bit, causing thermogenesis. And researchers in Taiwan found that capsaicin, the compound that gives red pepper its heat, might even be able to kill fat cells before they can fully develop.
Read on to see recipes for Chilli Tortilla Strips, Sweet-and-Sour Pickles, Garlic-Chilli Popcorn, and other healthy snack recipes.
Filed Under: RECIPES
Published on: March 1, 2010