You can have heart healthy snacks and still be creative. Here are the five keys to healthy snacking and planning to make healthy snacks part of your routine.
When it comes to heart healthy snacks, you want something that’s low in cholesterol, trans fats, sugar, and calories.
The five keys to healthy snacking are planning to make healthy snacks part of your routine, balance to provide a mix of high-fiber complex carbohydrates with good sources of plant protein, moderation to keep a snack between 100 to 250 calories, selecting nutrient-dense not calorie-dense foods, mindfulness to keep making healthy choices, and timing to avoid snacking into the evening.
There’s always fruits and vegetables. They’re low in calories, and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Plus, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits all add fiber to your diet.
Sometimes a light snack, like a piece of fruit will do it, but sometimes you need something a little more substantial. That’s where fiber, folate, and B-vitamin foods come in.
Soluble fiber snacks include oats, beans, and peas, while snacks with B vitamins include broccoli, asparagus, spinach, fortified cereal, and whole grains. Don’t forget healthy fats, such as olive and canola oil and most nuts, seeds, and avocado.
Collectively, such foods can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which in turn lowers your overall heart disease risk.
Your options include oat-based granola bars or homemade trail mix, slivered almonds mixed into low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit, orange cilantro black bean salad, guacamole, hummus or black bean salsa and crudités, or black bean and avocado nachos, according to Leslie Fink, MS, RD.
Heart healthy snacks might sound boring, but there are many to choose from that are satisfying and delicious. There are certain qualities you might want in your snacks, as well, such as crunchiness, satisfying drinks, snacks the fill you up, and snacks that satisfy your sweet tooth.
For crunchiness, try pears and apples, carrot and celery sticks, bell pepper slices, zucchini or cucumber circles, roasted chickpeas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, popcorn, rice cakes and whole grain crackers, and nuts and seeds.
For a healthy drink, try plain or sparkling water with some fruit added to it, fat-free milk or plain soymilk, unsweetened tea or coffee, 100 percent fruit juice (in small portions), and low-sodium tomato or mixed vegetable juice.
Snacks that fill you up can include, whole-grain toast with peanut or almond butter, cherry tomatoes with hummus, low-fat or fat-free cheese, plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt, a fruit and veggie smoothie, and whole grain crackers with tuna or salmon.
Snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth could include canned fruit in natural juice or light syrup, a thin slice of angel food cake, a baked apple, raisins, dates, figs, other unsweetened dried fruits, a frozen banana, frozen grapes, and homemade fruit salad.
A heart healthy shopping list includes less saturated and trans fat, so stay way from fatty meats, and fried foods, cakes, and cookies. Cut down on sodium (look for low sodium or no sodium added types of canned soups, vegetables, snack foods, and lunch meats).
All in all, creating balanced snacks is key to achieving your heart healthy goals.
June 27, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN