Healthy Take

A Healthy Take

Snacking can be healthy

 

Need a snack? No problem, say the folks at the American Association of Retired Persons, just keep it healthy. If you watch what you’re doing, you can get some of the fiber and nutrients your body needs through your snacking. You can also stave off some of those between-meal hunger pangs that can cause you to overeat if you let them go too long. Smart snacking could help you reduce your calorie intake if you eat smaller meals and use your snacks to keep you going in between. Keep in mind that as you age your body needs fewer calories.

Here are some suggestions for healthy snacks:

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Fruit: fresh, frozen or dried.

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Raw vegetables, cut and portioned in bags. Try carrots, celery, red and green peppers. You can dip them in low-fat dressing for a little extra zing.

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Whole-wheat English muffin with apple butter with a cup of herb tea.

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Slices of angel food cake with nonfat whipped topping.

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Whole-grain crackers with reduced-fat cheese or peanut butter.

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Nonfat cottage cheese or yogurt with honey.

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A handful of nuts or trail mix.

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Hummus with whole-wheat pita bread.

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A smoothie (nonfat milk or yogurt blended with fruit).

 

 

Microwaving often preserves nutrition

 

You’re busy and every minute counts. That means you have to take advantage of time savers, but many people feel like they are cutting corners or taking the easy way out if they prepare food in their microwaves.

 

Now that most people can afford and have microwaves — the first model weighed about 650 pounds, stood about 5 feet tall and cost more than $2,000, the equivalent of about $20,000 today (www.americanheritage.com) — there’s no reason you shouldn’t use it for food preparation, rather than just for reheating.

 

Rest easy, meal preparers. The truth is that there are actually nutritional advantages to preparing many foods in the microwave, according to Yale-New Haven Hospital ’s Nutrition Advisor, which is compiled by registered dietitians and dietetic interns at the hospital, which serves as Yale University School of Medicine’s main teaching center (www.ynhh.org). The microwave not only saves time, but because it requires shorter cooking times, covered cooking and little to no water, it also retains more vitamins and minerals in the food than other methods of cooking, such as boiling.

 

Not only that, the Yale dietitians say, microwave cooking also enhances the natural flavors of the food — a benefit since you will be less likely to add salt and sugar to gussy up your dishes. Microwaves cook foods in their own moisture, and don’t require added fats, such as butter or oils. But if you want something to come out crispy, you’re better off baking or broiling.

 

Are you on a caffeine merry-go-round?

 

Are you over-imbibing coffee, tea or sodas that are loaded with caffeine? If so you’re not alone; it’s not called “the world’s most popular drug” for nothing, after all. According to the National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org), caffeine in moderation is probably not harmful. Moderation would equal about 250 mg a day, and should be consumed earlier in the day, the foundation says.

If you’re using caffeine to stay alert at work, beware. You could be in a no-win situation that could domino into other problems. For instance, you have a hard time sleeping at night, so you’re tired during the day, and therefore you drink caffeine drinks to get through the day, which could make you end up with an even worse case of sleeplessness — and on and on. Also, remember that once your caffeine buzz wears off, you’re probably going to crash and burn. You can also suffer from feelings of anxiety or irritability, as well as rapid heartbeats from overusing caffeine.

 

Here is a list of the caffeine content of some common drinks from the Sleep Foundation’s Web site:

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8 oz. cola (23 mg)

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8 oz. diet cola (31 mg)

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240 ml energy drink (80 mg)

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8 oz. coffee (110 mg)

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8 oz. decaf coffee (5 mg)

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6 oz. caffe latte (90 mg)

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6 oz. cappuccino (90 mg)

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1 oz. espresso (90 mg)

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1 oz. decaf espresso (10 mg)

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8 oz. instant coffee (90 mg)

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8 oz. iced tea (60 mg)

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8 oz. U.S. tea (40 mg)

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8 oz. imported tea (60 mg)

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1 oz. milk chocolate candy (6 mg)

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8 oz cocoa beverage (6 mg)

 

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