Your mother always said a snack could spoil your appetite for supper but are your snack choices spoiling your health?
Snacking is a part of life but are your between meal choices as healthy as they should be? Many snackers try to save calories by choosing sugar free or fat free options.
"What we know from research is that people will tend to think if it's sugar free or fat-free they'll eat about 50% more so you're not always saving a lot." Said Avera/HyVee Registered Dietitian Ann Wipf.
Sugar is nothing to be afraid of. It's actually healthy to consume sugar every single day, as long as it's natural and not in excess.
"The bottom line when comparing labels of a sugar free product to regular is a check the total carbohydrate and the portion size and then see if there is enough difference that it makes a savings." Said Wipf.
That also goes for your soda choices. The difference between a regular Pepsi and Diet Pepsi is 150 calories and 10 Teaspoons of sugar! There is a push to kick childhood obesity but sugar free is not always the best option for kids. Unless they have diabetes and absolutely can't have sugar, completely restricting sugar consumption can actually mess up their metabolism.
"If it's a child that's growing and you want them to have some healthy carbohydrate foods you want to try to choose things that have just naturally present carbohydrates that they'll use for energy." Said Wipf.
So when it comes to snacking, Ann says you want to stay around 15-20 carbohydrates per serving and then pair that choice with a good protein.
"So you're talking about fruits with no sugar added could be canned or fresh fruit it's always an excellent choice you could also look at some yogurts whole-grain crackers those are great carbohydrate options and then pair it with a healthy fat protein like nuts or cheese maybe some raw vegetables those of the awesome combinations." Said Wipf.
We're all born with a sweet tooth, the best way to help curb it is by choosing more of those natural sugars like the ones found in fruits and veggies. Ann says you should also do your best to not to eat around cravings. Sticking with the my plate approach and trying to get all the food groups into each meal is also encouraged.
"If we were eating all that we would have less room and less cravings for some of those sweet things." Said Wipf.
Snacking is not a sin, but like the best things in life it's best done in moderation. Diabetics need to be extra careful when it comes to sugar-free snacks. Just because the label says no sugar, that means no white or brown sugar, they aren't counting the carbs that could also be lurking in them and can cause blood sugar levels to rise. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.