Snacks are an important part of any active individual's diet. Active people tend to get hungry every 3 to 4 hours, which means the standard meal times are often too far apart to keep the hunger at bay. When we get too hungry, we tend to overeat at the next meal and also tend to make poor nutrition choices. Incorporating 1 to 2 healthy snacks into your daily meal cycle can not only help prevent hunger, but also boost energy, maintain blood sugar level (prevent "crashes"), and help fuel you for an evening workout session. Below are some examples of healthy snacks for the car, gym or work place that can keep you fueled all day long.
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Fresh fruit and vegetables: This is nature's best snack. Most fruits and vegetables are portable and ready-to-eat. They provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals in addition to fiber, which not only helps you feel fuller longer, but also is health-protective for a number of diseases. Furthermore, many fruits and vegetables can contribute significantly to your water intake, helping you meet your hydration needs. While perfectly adequate on their own, you can combine fruits and vegetables with other healthy foods to make a well-rounded meal: choose apple slices with string cheese, carrot and celery sticks with hummus and banana slices with peanut butter and cinnamon.
Whole grains: Like fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products are rich in nutrients such as fiber and B-vitamins, which help convert your food to energy. Whole-grain crackers can satisfy your needs for a crunchy snack, and whole-grain bagels and breads can easily take the place of less nutritious baked goods. Other examples include: air-popped popcorn, low-fat pretzels and high-fiber/low-sugar cereals. Try keeping some peanut butter or almond butter on hand (or you can buy them in single-serve packets) to spread on your whole grains for a little extra protein and fat.