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Choosing Health-Promoting Snacks

Americans are notorious for being "junk-food junkies." The manufacturing of junk-food products (pseudofoods) that feed our habit has become the largest portion of the $416-billion-a-year food industry.1

Much of it is the stuff we reach for when we want a snack. Every day in the United States, thousands of us plunk a collective mountain of change into an untold number of vending machines from which we hope to draw some in between-meal pleasure. Clink, clink, clink, whirrrr, thunk – out drops a handful of something that is mostly sugar, perhaps some fat, perhaps some refined flour, perhaps some salt, perhaps some caffeine.

In the end, it's nothing but empty calories. For all the good it does our bodies, we might just as well eat the wrapper or the can.

The negative effects of junk-food snacks on our health wipe out the positive effects of health-promoting foods at mealtimes. Therefore, from now on when you want a snack, make it a healthy one.

Be Prepared!
Snacking is not the problem in the American diet. The snacks are the problem. Preparation is the key to having healthy snacks available. As you attempt to build the healthy habit of healthy snacking, always have some sort of healthy food available to nibble on should you feel the urge at home, the office, or on the go. Thinking ahead in this way will make you less likely to rationalize your way into eating something you know you shouldn't.

Of course, since you've been reading this book you've probably already begun the process of getting rid of the junk food in your kitchen. The office, however, presents a whole new battlefield of temptations. There are the free doughnuts somebody keeps bringing in each morning for anyone who's interested. Who wouldn't be interested? Those colorfully wrapped candies in bowls on your coworkers' desks also beckon for your attention. Oh, and those omnipresent vending machines. Somewhere between lunch and quitting time they begin their siren call. "Aw, c'mon," they whisper, "have a Snickers bar on me. Just one won't hurt, will it?"

Watch out for rationalizing. One today becomes one again tomorrow, and so on. We are a people who rationalize ourselves into bad habits. Prepare yourself to resist. Little habits can bring big trouble. Just one pack of Lifesavers a day will put ten pounds of unhealthy fat on your body in a year.2

So what kind of snacks would be good, you're asking? Here's a list of healthful snacks you might find enjoyable. As you discover more, add them to this list.

Healthy Snacks
Fruit

  • Fresh: apples, bananas, oranges, melons, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, pineapple, grapefruit, grapes
  • Dried: apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, pineapple, banana, pear, apple, dates
  • Frozen: fruit-juice popsicles
(Fruits are loaded with natural sugars that give a "lift" to a long day. They also are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. If you suffer from hypoglycemia or candida, you may need to eat fewer fruits and more of the other kinds of snacks.)

Vegetable Pieces (Raw)
Carrots, celery, peppers (green, red, yellow), cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes.

(Excellent source of health-promoting vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and essential amino acids.)

Nuts and Seeds (Raw)
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts (hazelnuts), peanuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolias), pistachios, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts.

(Powerfully nutritious. Rich source of carbohydrate, protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals – calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Most are high in fat [70-80 percent], but it is unsaturated. Chestnuts, however, contain only 6 percent.)



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From HEALTHY HABITS: 20 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health by David J. Frahm as used by arrangement with Jeremy P. Tarcher, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2003 by David and Anne Frahm. All rights reserved.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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