Snack on This: Five Easy Swaps to Add More Nutrition to Your Day
Much of the American population indulges in a snack or two every day. According to some medical experts, snacking can be beneficial for older adults. Healthy snacks between meals provide energy, decrease hunger, and help prevent overeating at your next meal. Older adults who struggle with low appetites benefit significantly from consuming snacks. Snacking ensures they receive vital nutrients.
While snacking can be beneficial for older adults, snacking can quickly become detrimental when older adults snack on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Snacking to fill a void, such as loneliness or boredom, is also damaging. Healthy snacking should focus on consuming nutrients that are missing from your overall diet and at times when your body actually needs those nutrients.
February is National Snack Month. It’s a great time to take a closer look at your snacking habits. If your snacking habits could use improvement, here are five easy swaps to add more nutrition as you snack.
Swap Out Potato Chips for Kale Chips
Potato chips are notorious for being over-processed and loaded with salt. Even the “healthier” baked options are filled with sodium. Swap out potato chips for kale chips. Kale actually retains its nutritional value when formed into a chip, unlike the potato. Kale is also a superfood, high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and calcium. Kale chips crunch similarly to a potato chip, so you’ll hardly notice a difference in texture. Bake your own batch at home or pick up a bag from your local grocery store.
Swap Out Soft Drinks for Infused Water
The average can of soda contains approximately 40 grams of sugar. Sodas with zero calories or sugar still contain unhealthy ingredients, including sodium and artificial sweeteners. Swap out soda for a cold glass of infused water. Make a pitcher to keep in your refrigerator so you have something cold to drink before your next craving. Slice lemons, oranges, cucumbers, strawberries, or kiwi, place in a small pitcher and fill with water. If bubbles are what you most crave about soda, swap out soda for sparkling water.
Swap Out Veggie Dip for Mashed Avocado
Veggie dips may seem healthy, especially when used to add flavor to bland vegetables. However, veggie dips can be deceivingly unhealthy. Not only do they contain saturated fat, but they are also high in sodium. Swap out veggie dip for mashed avocado. Avocados are high in fat, but healthy fat helps to lower total cholesterol. Scoop half an avocado into a bowl, then use a fork to smash it to your desired consistency gently.
Swap Out Flavored Yogurt for Plain Greek Yogurt
Yogurt can be a very healthy snack and an excellent way for older adults to consume vitamins and calcium. However, the yogurt market today is saturated with a wide variety of unhealthy options. Most processed yogurts are depleted of their nutritional value and filled with sugar. Swap out flavored yogurt for plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is naturally lower in sugar and rich in protein. One serving can help you stay full longer. Plain Greek yogurt can be somewhat tart, so flavor with fresh fruits or a teaspoon of honey.
Swap Out Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate
Healthy snacking doesn’t necessarily mean giving up chocolate. However, the type of chocolate you consume does matter. Milk chocolate is filled with sugar and fat. White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa at all. If you’re craving something sweet, swap out milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Generally, the higher the cocoa content the better. Dark chocolate contains higher concentrations of antioxidants than chocolates with lower cocoa percentages. Just remember not to overdo it. Even dark chocolate contains sugar and fat, so it’s best consumed in smaller quantities.
If you’re looking for more healthy swaps to make this year, consider swapping out worry and anxiety with the peace of mind that only Visiting Angels South Elgin can provide. We make life easier for older adults who need some help at home. Our services have helped countless older adults continue to live the lifestyle they enjoy, right in the comfort of their own homes. To learn more about how easy it is to get started with home care, please contact us today by calling 847-429-0100.