The 5 Snacks You Should Eat Every Day

bowl of almonds(BlackDoctor.org) — Just yesterday you complained to a colleague at work “I eat healthy, and I don’t snack between meals, so why can’t I lose any weight?” And more than likely, there’s at least one person in your office who eats all the time, and never seems to gain any weight.

But guess what? You may not be losing weight because you don’t snack. Not snacking is actually the wrong thing to do…as long as you do it right, that is.

Why Is Snacking So Important?

Think about this – our bodies are evolved to graze; when food gets scarce, we start to retain fat as a way of protecting ourselves from famine…and that’s exactly what happens when you don’t snack between meals. Basically, your body doesn’t know where its next meal is coming from, so it’s afraid to shed the extra pounds. What’s worse is that, when you do finally allow yourself to eat a meal, you may end up eating more than you need to because you’re famished.

That’s why snacking is so important: In fact, when Penn State researchers fed subjects just one humble apple before mealtime, the subjects consumed nearly 190 fewer calories.

But…exactly what should you be snacking on?

Yogurt

While many African Americans are lactose intolerant, quite a few have discovered that certain types of dairy, including yogurt, are a little more gentle to their digestive system. Yogurt is teeming with calcium, which promotes muscle growth; and probiotic bacteria, which bolsters your immune system. What’s more, study participants who ate yogurt daily lost 81 percent more belly fat than those who didn’t, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.  Want to make it even healthier? Add a few berries along with some nuts or seeds.

Best
Fage Total 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (7 oz container)
130 calories
4 g fat (3 g saturated)
17 g protein
8 g sugars

Worst
Dannon Fruit on the Bottom (6 oz container)
150 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
6 g protein
26 g sugars

Almonds

Almonds are an excellent source of heart-healthy monosaturated fats, and, pound for pound, a better source of protein than eggs. That’s part of the reason why research published in the journal Obesity demonstrated that people who frequently eat nuts are less likely to gain weight. Just be sure to eat them whole: A study from the Journal of Nutrition found that the flavonoids in the skin combine with the vitamin E in the nut to double the antioxidant dose.

Almonds (1 oz)
163 calories
14 g fat (1 g saturated)
6 g protein
3.5 g fiber

Cereal

Some cereals, like the granola below, look healthy but actually have as much sugar as a candy bar. Kashi’s GoLean lives up to its healthy moniker. This bowl has twice as much fiber as an apple, three times as much protein as a large egg, and even with milk it manages to keep the calorie load below 200 per bowl.

Best
Kashi GoLean Original (1 cup with 1/2 cup of 1% milk, lactose-free milk or low-fat soy milk)
195 calories
2.5 g fat (.5 g saturated)
12 g sugars
17 g protein
10 g fiber

Worst
Kashi Summer Berry Granola (3/4 cup with 1/2 cup 1% milk)
385 calories
10.5 g fat (2 g saturated)
19.5 g sugars

Dip & Veggies

Hummus is composed primarily of chickpeas, which have been shown to help regulate blood sugar—probably due to their salutary balance of protein and fiber. Most of that fiber is insoluble, so it promotes colon health. One study even found that people who added chickpeas to their diet ended up taking in fewer total calories. Add to that a few baby carrots and you get the added benefit of vision-preserving, skin-soothing beta-carotene.

Best
Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (2 Tbsp with 10 baby carrots)
105 calories
6 g fat (1 g saturated)
200 mg sodium
2.5 g protein
4 g fiber

Worst
Lay’s Smooth Ranch Dip (2 tbsp) with Ruffles Loaded Chili & Cheese Potato Chips (1 oz)
220 calories
15 g fat (1 g saturated)
390 mg sodium

Crunchy Snacks

Spelt is a grain related to wheat that packs more fiber and protein—and at 6 calories per pretzel, the dietary bang for your buck is undeniable. Over-saltiness is always a concern with pretzels, but the sodium level in this snack is mild. Combine that with Newman’s Own’s longstanding support for charitable causes—and, in Nell Newman’s Organics company, a robust commitment to sustainable, organic farming—and you’ve got a product you’ll proudly pluck from the shelf. Pair these with a hunk of cheddar to rope even more protein into your snack break.

Best
Newman’s Own Organics Spelt Pretzels (20 pretzels)
120 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
240 mg sodium
4 g protein
4 g fiber

Worst
Newman’s Own Organics Salted Rounds Pretzels (16 pretzels)
220 calories
2 g fat (0 g saturated)
800 mg sodium
4 g protein
0 g fiber

Always remember that the true keys to snacking right is to find snacks that are low in sugar and high in protein…and to make sure you’re not eating for the wrong reasons (i.e. bored, stressed, tired, etc.)

SHARE YOUR OPINION

Would you subscribe to a service where you can see a black doctor anytime via video chat for $19 a month?

Can’t Sleep? Try This…

bedroomDid you know that it’s actually beneficial to your health to give in to the winter urge to hibernate and get enough sleep? Getting at least seven to eight hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep will help you maintain just about every aspect of your health, from disease prevention to weight maintenance, and ultimately help you enjoy a longer life.

Does Your Bedroom Affect Your Sleep?

Think about it. You spend a third of your life sleeping, so your environment for sleeping should soothing and relaxing…and quiet! This means that your bedroom should ideally be located in a less trafficked area of your home. You should also take steps to soundproof the room if your neighborhood and surrounding areas tend to be noisy.

• Lighting. The lighting should be dim and any music that is played should be peaceful.

• Decoration. Keep the décor minimal, with nothing busy to detract from your sleep. Colors should be in the realm of blues, greens, and grays.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE!

• No plants. Surprised? The reason is that plants give off carbon dioxide and deplete the oxygen in the air you breathe.

• Limit the electronics. Computers or televisions in your bedroom because they generate electromagnetic fields and positive ions that can induce irritability and agitation.

An Easy Feng Shui Lesson

The principle of feng shui is based on the ancient Taoist concept of energetic polarity. Yin and yang are the terms for describing the energy states in the universe, which are both opposite and complementary. Activities in our lives fit into different yin or yang categories. If you want to lead a long and healthy life, you would do well to strike a balance between the two polarities.

• Yin. Yin embodies negative electrical charge and contractive energy, and its directions are north – the negative pole, and west, where the sun sets. Relaxing activities such as sleeping, reading, and bathing are yin activities.

• Yang. Yang is characterized by positive electrical charge and expansive energy states, and its directions are south – considered the positive pole, and east, where the sun rises. Energetic activities such as exercise, cooking, engaging in hobbies, and studying are yang.

This means that your bedroom and bathroom should be located in the northern and western areas of your home, and your office, kitchen, living room, and dining room are best in southern and eastern locations.

What Else You Need For Better Quality Sleep

Quality of sleep is as important as the quantity of sleep. Often we think we sleep for eight hours, but unless we are getting good quality REM sleep, which is when the body truly rests, we will awake feeling as if we hadn’t slept at all. Here are the ways to be sure you are getting quality sleep:

• Do not eat late. Your last meal should be no later than seven in the evening.

• Do not exercise just before bed. You should engage in no strenuous exercise for at least two hours before bed.

• No pets in the bedroom. Sleeping with pets often causes restless sleep.

You may also like to try this sitting meditation a half an hour before bed: Sit comfortably at the edge of a firm seat with your back erect and your head tilted slightly downwards. Place your arms gently over your lap and breathe slowly, deliberately, and gently. Keep your eyes slightly closed. Do this for 15-20 minutes.

 

Visit the BlackDoctor.org Home Health center for more articles and tips.