AUSTIN, Texas (January 22, 2002) Americans are snackers, plain and simple. Studies show that more than 75 percent of us consume at least one snack per day1 and derive approximately 25 percent of total daily calories2 from eating outside the traditional three square meals per day. Many nutritionists tout snacking as a good strategy and recommend daily snacking to maintain high energy levels and to prevent overeating at mealtime. However, if you are relying on the old standbys of chips and dip or crackers and pretzels, your snack menu may need a makeover to 'sideline' the empty calories, 'bad' fats and artificial additives.
“Typically, snacks have not often been associated with good nutrition because of the amount of saturated fats, high caloric content and artificial additives they contain,” says Whole Foods Market's “Snack Coach” Alana Sugar, C.N. “These days, you can find great tasting snacks free of all these unwanted ingredients and the GUILT!”
February is National Snack Foods Month and millions of us will be snacking, be it at Super Bowl parties or curled up in front of the television for the Winter Olympics. This year, 'go long' for real flavor while 'passing' on the artificial ingredients. Whole Foods Market's abundant selection of organic and natural snacking options makes it easier to create a 'gold medal game plan' for individual snack regimens or for creating tasty treats for friends and family.
Just in time for National Snack Foods Month, Whole Foods Market offers exciting and savory new recipes for quick hors d'oeuvres and snack ideas that are sure to please any crowd. (Visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com for snack tips and recipes). Ranging from 'Quick n' Spicy Tamari Nut Mix,' that can be prepared in just five minutes, to 'In the Zone Quesadillas,' these options make preparing winning snacks easy regardless of how much time you are – or aren't – willing to spend in the kitchen.
Baltimore Ravens' wide receiver and loyal Whole Foods Market shopper, Qadry Ismail believes, “Snacking naturally is important whether you're a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or a couch potato. What you put in your body and how often you eat has a direct effect on your daily mental and physical performance.”
Timing and preparation are also important factors when it comes to snacking. “Whether you have only five minutes to prepare a snack or more time to get creative with recipes, you can offer your family and friends variety along with exciting new flavors, colors and textures that are delicious and also add nutritional value to a well balanced diet,” explains Sugar.
If you prefer 'grab-and-go' snacks that don't require much prep time, Sugar suggests perusing the grocery aisles for great-tasting, all natural snacks that are higher in fiber, provide a more complete source of protein and are all-around more delicious. For example, natural and organic tortilla chips made from red, blue, yellow and white corn are pleasing both to the eye and the palate when paired with a chunky vegetable salsa, roasted garlic hummus or black bean dip.
A Gold Medal Game Plan for Smart Snacking Throughout the Year
Of course, snacking is not just reserved for gathering with friends or watching sports on television. Most Americans snack every day, several times a day, following the strategy that many nutritionists recommend.
“Frequent, balanced snacking is one of the best things you can do to promote well being. It is also an excellent strategy to keep you from overeating during meals and to maintain a high energy level throughout the day, ” says Sugar. She suggests carrying healthy snacks in the car, keeping some at the office or in your handbag. Another winning tip is to space small meals three to four hours apart to help maintain a steady level of blood sugar in the body.
Quick and easy everyday snacking choices should be well balanced and include carbohydrates from whole grains and fresh fruits, heart healthy fats and protein. Easy 'on-the-go' snack ideas include: fresh seasonal fruit with plain or Tamari roasted almonds, sliced or chopped veggies, trail mix with mixed nuts and dried fruit, organic dairy yogurt, sunflower seeds, popcorn, and low-fat cheese with whole grain crackers.
Finally, Sugar warns against sugary desserts and sweets. If you must have something sweet, make it as healthy as possible. A good example is an oatmeal raisin walnut cookie or non-hydrogenated peanut butter spread on whole grain bread and topped with your favorite jam or preserves.
At Whole Foods Market, organic selections for all of the ideas mentioned above are available, as more Americans are embracing a healthy lifestyle and eating more organic foods. In fact, nearly one-third of the U.S. population currently buys organically grown food – making organic one of the hottest growth trends in the food industry today.
- Alana Sugar, C.N., is available for media interviews.
- Snack Facts
1American Dietetic Association 2 Information Resources, Inc.