Saturday, January 22, 2011

Improve Your Diet Instantly With These Healthy Convenience Snacks

Being on the go is no excuse to eat poorly. Having a healthy convenience snack on hand is not only practical, but it keeps you from visiting the snack machine down the hall every fifteen minutes. Let's take a look a ten of the healthiest convenience foods around to keep you active, on the go and, of course, healthy:

1. Natural Nut Clusters
These little nut clusters are full of nutrition and great taste. Available at most stores, and in different nut assortments, nut clusters are naturally made and limit the amount of preservatives needed in the bag. With just the right amount of natural sugars and different nuts, a handful of these snacks will leave you satisfied.

2. Yogurt Raisins
A favorite of grownups and kids alike, yogurt covered raisins hold a host of benefits. The sweet and salty flavors mesh well together and provide a range of antioxidants. Great to grab and go, yogurt covered raisins can provide a healthy snack for anyone with a sweet tooth.

3. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a great source of protein as well as providing your fruit servings for the day. Grabbing a small bag of trail mix will give you the fiber needed to fill your stomach and keep you satisfied between meals. Choose varieties that are heavy on the nut, whole grain, and dried fruit, and light on the chocolate.

4. Protein Shake
Perfect for the morning rush, protein shakes are easy to make and quite versatile. Adding different fruit to the mix can change your drink from a strawberry banana bliss to a peanut butter banana dream. If you are not in the mood to make it yourself, you can always buy them prepackaged and save your energy for peeling the fruit.

5. Dried Fruit
Drying fruit is different than cooking it. When fruit is dried, the nutrients remain intact because it is not heated over 170 degrees. Fruit has plenty of antioxidant properties and amino acids, and when dried, the best parts remain. While you wouldn't want to overload on dried fruit because of the natural sugars that run rampant, a few servings of dried fruit is a healthy way to tide you over until dinner.

6. Bean and Cheese Burrito
While there are plenty of different bean and cheese burritos on the market, all of them are pretty much the same. You can find organic, all natural burritos, but most are fairly healthy; just read the labels. Of course, you can easily wrap up a stash at home and keep them in the freezer for quick snacks, lunches, or dinners.

7. Soups
It is amazing how satisfying soup can be. When choosing a soup to take along, choose the low sodium and low fat varieties. It is also important to stick with clear broths or stocks to cut down on the additives which are needed to keep the milky sauces from expiring. With the reduction in fat, salts, and additives, you will be able to enjoy a great bowl of soup without sacrificing health. Make your own soup simply at home by mixing a can of broth with some vegetables, rice, or pasta. Store in single serving containers in the freezer and you can have a healthy cup of soup in minutes.

8. Veggies and Dip
You can enjoy veggies with lots of yummy dip without sacrificing your good, healthy eating habits. Substituting hummus, baba ganoush or yogurt for the traditional ranch or blue cheese dressing, you will be able to enjoy your favorite veggies without all of the guilt.

9. Food Bars
There are a plethora of food bars to choose from. Lara Bars, Luna Bars, and Clif Bars, are a few well known varieties. Many of them are extremely health-conscious but each has their own market. Once you know what you are trying to accomplish (building muscle, losing fat, eating healthy) you can pick the bar for you and, voila, you have a healthy snack.

10. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a fantastic snack. Not the instant kind, filled with sugar and artificial flavoring, but the actual kind you make on the stove. Sure, not often considered a convenience food, but when you think about the eight minutes it takes to make instant oatmeal and let it cool and then look at the nine minutes it takes to make regular oatmeal, you can decide the convenience for yourself. You may also just like to nibble on raw oatmeal, or toast it quickly and turn it into a quick granola feast.

No matter what your schedule, you can afford a few minutes each day to eat a healthy snack or two. The nutritional needs of an adult differ from that of a child. These snacks are meant to keep an adult satisfied without adding too many calories, fat, salt, or sugar to their diet. If maintaining a healthy weight is a concern, eating a couple light snacks during the day can help burn fat and keep you from eating larger meals than you have to. Snack smart with these convenient foods and stay healthy and fit.

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