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Balancing work, family life, and leading a healthy lifestyle can be challenging. In addition to fitting all of your responsibilities into the day, it's important to eat nutritious, tasty meals, and to include regular physical activity to help you look and feel your best.
Include a wide variety of healthful snacks in your eating pattern. Snacking on grain-based snacks, for example, can help maintain energy levels while providing vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. Regular physical activity promotes overall fitness, and a cardiovascular workout helps keep your heart healthy.
Nutrition experts recommend choosing a wide variety of foods from all the food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid. It makes good health sense to moderate total fat intake. Remember cutting down on fat doesn't mean cutting back on taste. Today there are lots of good-tasting, low-fat, nutritious snacks available.
Use the Food Guide Pyramid as your "snack guide." The pyramid provides you with a practical tool to help you include a broad selection of foods.
There are easy ways to make snacking work for you, which is especially important for an active lifestyle. Light snacks help keep you going whether you're at home or work, and especially when you're planning to exercise.
Here are some tips for incorporating snacks into a healthy lifestyle:
Snack for energy.
Include a small snack two to three times a day to help keep up energy levels.
Remember that juice counts.
A glass of fruit or vegetable juice counts as a serving, too. Keep some in the fridge so you can grab one any time.
Snack with a friend.
Take a snack break with a friend. By snacking with someone, you can remind each other to eat healthful snacks and take time out of your busy day to "catch up."
Stash a snack.
Keep snacks in a desk drawer at work or even in a briefcase or carryall, so you're ready when the munchies hit. Be sure to toss a couple of snacks into your duffel bag when you're going to work out.
Pack snacks in the car.
Snacks are fun to share with the carpool gang. Pack the car with some whole-wheat bread sticks, fat-free flavored rice cakes, or fresh apples, bananas, grapes and whole baby carrots.
Have a quick breakfast.
No time for breakfast? Try a new take on the traditional morning meal with a snack-like breakfast, like individual packs of low-fat yogurt, a bagel with preserves, and a glass of fruit juice.
Enjoy an evening snack, especially something sweet, after dinner. Savor some fig bars, fat-free caramel corn cakes, or low-fat frozen yogurt.
For more information
The American Dietetic Association/National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Consumer Nutrition Hot Line.
For food and nutrition information or for a referral to a registered dietitian in your area, call 800/366-1655. For customized answers to your food and nutrition questions by a registered dietitian, call 900/CALL-AN-RD (900/225-5267). The cost of the call will be $1.95 for the first minute and $.95 for each additional minute.
This fact sheet is supported by a grant from Quaker Rice Cakes.
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