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Make Your Snack Attack Heart-Healthy

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By: Karen Yontz Center Staff

We’ve all been there. It’s 8PM and you’re just about to settle in to watch your favorite TV show when the little pang hits your stomach. The voice in your head starts whispering, “You know what would go well with this show? A little snack”. Before you know it, you’re off the couch and rummaging through the cupboards or fridge to find something you can nibble on. Inevitably, you pull that bag of mostly chip dust out and decide “This will work” and head back to the living room to mindlessly chow down.

What if instead of this habit, we took a couple of minutes to be mindful about what we want so that we make sure 1) we really ARE hungry and DO want a little something to eat and 2) we look a little deeper to figure out what we actually WANT to eat so that we make sure our snacking isn’t a mindless endeavor—one that might lead us to eat a bunch of things we only kind of want instead of a little of what we REALLY want. How can we rewrite that scene?

First of all, when we sit down and get those familiar pangs in the belly, we can acknowledge them. Think to yourself, “OK, am I really hungry, or am I just thinking I should have a snack because that’s what I always do when I watch this show?” Really concentrate on how your stomach is feeling. Depending upon when you last ate something, you might find you aren’t hungry at all. Try drinking a glass of water or chewing a piece of gum for 5 to 10 minutes. If those aren’t enough to curb your appetite, you are likely actually a little hungry. Here comes the fun part. What are you really hungry for? Do you need something sweet? Do you really want something with some crunch to it? Or are you craving something that feels cool and creamy in your mouth? Make sure you’ve figured out what flavor/sensation you want to experience so that you choose the snack that will satiate you.

So now you’ve figured out that you are hungry and you know what you’re hungry for. How can you make sure you don’t reach for something that’s overloaded with salt or saturated fat? By having some go-to 100-calorie snacks in your cabinets or refrigerator, you’ll be ready. If you have a sweet tooth, keep grapes in the freezer and eat about 20 for your snack, have a cup and a half of berries or ½ oz. of the best dark chocolate you can buy. If you are looking for something sweet AND creamy, puree one ripe banana and freeze it to make yourself some “nice” cream or freeze a tablespoon of peanut butter. If you need something salty, olives and pickle slices are your friend (15 of the first or 6 of the second). If you want the crunch in there too, try some air-popped popcorn (2 cups) or lightly salted almonds (12 of them). These simple swaps for your typical chips and ice cream are a great way to make sure your snacks are working for your heart and your tummy.

If you’re in need of some new heart-healthy recipes, visit The Karen Yontz Center’s lending library today.

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The Karen Yontz Center's lending library is your source for heart-healthy resources including books on lifestyle, cookbooks, workout DVDs, meditation CDs, and much more.

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Karen Yontz Center, Located in Aurora St Luke's Medical Center, 2900 W Oklahoma Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53125, (414) 649-5767