Fast Snacks

When you are eating on the run and grabbing snacks instead of real meals, be sure to choose wholesome foods. You can make wise choices from among many nutritious and conveniently available items. Some popular suggestions include

  • a whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and a (decaf) latte;
  • a slice of thick-crust pizza with green peppers;
  • peanut butter, crackers, and raisins;
  • trail mix with granola, nuts, and dried fruit;
  • Grape-Nuts with yogurt and berries;
  • Chinese takeout—stir-fried chicken with vegetables and steamed rice; and
  • instant oatmeal made with low-fat milk and slivered almonds.

Note that each of these mini-meals includes foods from three food groups. Ideally, you'll choose foods from different groups to help balance your diet. That way, even people who graze throughout the day can get a variety of nutrients needed for good health and top performance. The following list provides additional ideas for snacks and grazing at home and on the road:

  • Dry cereal. Mix your favorite cereal with raisins, dried fruits, cinnamon, or nuts.
  • Instant oatmeal. Microwave the oatmeal with milk instead of water to boost its nutrition power. Sprinkle with raisins and chopped nuts.
  • Popcorn. Eat plain or sprinkled with spices such as chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, or soy sauce. If you like, spray with low-calorie butter-flavor sprays so that the spices stick.
  • Pretzels. If you wish to reduce your salt intake, knock the salt off or buy salt-free pretzels.

Candy bar: 230 cal, 13 g fat Energy bar: 230 cal, 2 g fat

Corn chips: •— 160 cal, 10 g fat Pretzels: 110 cal, 1 g fat

Candy bar: 230 cal, 13 g fat Energy bar: 230 cal, 2 g fat

Corn chips: •— 160 cal, 10 g fat Pretzels: 110 cal, 1 g fat

Yogurt (1 cup, flavored) 210 cal, 2 g fat

  • Crackers. Stoned wheat, sesame, bran, whole grain, and low-fat brands are good choices.
  • Muffins. HomemaCe with canol6 oil are best; wholesome bran or corn muffins are preferable to those made with white flour (see the recipes in part IV). If store bought, choose low-fat muffins.
  • Bagels. Whole-grain varieties provide more vitamins and minerals than do bagels made with white flour.
  • Fruits. Choose oranges, bananas, apples, or any fresh fruit. When traveling, pack dried fruit for concentrated carbohydrate. See table 5.1 for some of the best fruit choices.
  • Smoothies. Whip together milk, yogurt, or juice; fresh or frozen fruit; and wheat germ or flax meal (see information and recipes beginning on page 395).
  • Frozen fruit bars. You can slowly savor these pleasant treats in good health.
  • Yogurt. Buy plain low-fat yogurt and flavor it with vanilla, honey, cinnamon, instant decaffeinated coffee, applesauce, fruit cocktail, or berries.

Table 5.1 Ranking Fruits

Vitamin packed and health protective, fruit is a top-notch sports snack. To help you make the best choices, use this list, which orders fruits according to their content of nine vitamins and fiber. The higher the score, the more nutrient dense the fruit.

Table 5.1 Ranking Fruits

Vitamin packed and health protective, fruit is a top-notch sports snack. To help you make the best choices, use this list, which orders fruits according to their content of nine vitamins and fiber. The higher the score, the more nutrient dense the fruit.

Fruit

Nutrition score

Watermelon, 2 cups

310

Grapefruit, 1/2 pink or red

263

Papaya, 1/2

223

Cantaloupe, 1/4

200

Orange, 1 average

186

Strawberries, 1 cup

173

Kiwi, 1

115

Raspberries, 1 cup

106

Tangerine, 1 average

105

Mango, 1/2

94

Honeydew, 1/8 melon

85

Apricots, 2 fresh

78

Banana, 1

54

Peach, 1 large

47

Pear, 1 average

44

Apple, with skin, 1

43

Raisins, 1/4 cup packed

24

Pears, canned, 2 halves

20

Apple juice, unsweetened, 1/2 cup

14

Copyright CSPI 2003. Adapted from Nutrition Action Health letter. www.cspinet.org

Copyright CSPI 2003. Adapted from Nutrition Action Health letter. www.cspinet.org

  • Energy bars, breakfast bars, low-fat granola bars. Prewrapped and portable, these travel well in pockets and gym bags and can be very handy.
  • Nuts and seeds. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and other nuts and seeds are excellent for protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, and healthful fat.
  • Sandwiches. Sandwiches don't have to be just for lunch; they are great for snacks. Choose peanut butter, turkey, hummus, lean roast beef, or tuna with light mayo.
  • Baked sweet potatoes. Microwave ovens make these a handy snack. They're tasty warm or cold, a carbohydrate-rich choice for refueling your muscles after a hard workout. Try them with a dash of nutmeg—mmm!
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