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April 12, 2017

Be healthy for good with healthy snacking

Healthy Eating Heart Health
04122017_watermelon Photo courtesy/The American Heart Association

When hunger strikes, it’s a good idea to have healthy snacks – like watermelon and other fruits – nearby to avoid unhealthy temptations.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons in the fight against heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans. Healthy For Good™ is the American Heart Association’s new movement to inspire all Americans to live healthier lives and create lasting change. It focuses on the simple idea that making small, incremental changes today can create a difference for generations to come.

Healthy For Good™ is built on four pillars: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. When it comes to eating, making smart choices will benefit heart health and overall health. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily.  Incorporating even simple, small changes can make a big difference in living a healthier life and can help prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

When hunger strikes, it’s a good idea to have healthy snacks nearby to avoid unhealthy temptations. Plan ahead for healthy snacking and include foods rich in fiber (whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits), potassium (oranges, potatoes, cantaloupe) and omega-3 fatty acids (make mix with walnuts, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseeds to sprinkle on meals or eat as a snack). Try colorful foods to get antioxidant-rich flavonoids in your diet.

“Keeping healthy snacks available at home for your family will help avoid unhealthy and empty-calorie-filled snacking,” said Mandy Unanski Enright, MS, RDN, RYT, volunteer for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association and Media Representative for the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Snacking isn’t 'bad' if you do it in moderation. The trick is to plan snacks into your day, watch calories and make healthy choices.”

To snack the sensible way, choose nutrient-rich snacks like those listed below.

When you’re craving something crunchy try:

• Apples

• Carrot and celery sticks

• Radishes

When you’re looking to quench your thirst try:

• Water

• Unsweetened juices

• Fat-free milk

When you want a munchy snack try:

• Unsalted seeds and nuts

• Low-fat or fat-free yogurt

• Low-fat or fat-free cheese

When you need something sweet try:

• Baked apple

• Fresh fruit

• Thin slice of angel food cake

Join the Healthy For Good™ movement at www.heart.org/HealthyForGood for tips, tools and hacks that make healthy living easy. Begin the journey toward a longer, healthier life for you and your family with science-based resources from the American Heart Association.