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Say yes to healthy snacking
Let`s accept it - we have all been through this! Imagine, you are battling steep deadlines in the office. And, peeping from behind those files is a packet of that irresistible snack that has been staring at you for a while.

You try to shrug off the feeling and concentrate on your work. But the feeling seems to hang on. Your taste buds too rebel and your mouth starts to water.

You finally take a deep breath and think, `What the heck! One time won`t harm too much!` and the next you know is you are happily munching on the packet, forgetting the extra calories that are being pumped into you. Sounds familiar? Don`t be surprised, you are not alone. `Craving getting the better of us` is a feeling many of us are only too familiar with.

Let us take it this way, craving is inevitable and so is snacking.

For kids, snacking is a fun activity, for teenagers it`s an excuse to hang out together, for office-goers it`s the only thing that can beat stress and for the older generation, it is a way to fight off those hunger pangs.

In order to get rid of these hunger pangs, healthy snacking seems to be the best bet. Healthy snacking has tons of benefits including weight management.

Healthy snacking is all about the choices you make

The myth about in-between meal snacking is that it is harmful for health.

Snacking has always been high on sensorial delight and is a mood changing experience for most of us. But sadly, it has been considered inherently unhealthy due to the high fat and calorie content of commonly consumed snacks. However, snacking in itself is a healthy habit, provided we choose the products with precision.

Healthy snacking is all about smart choices. It is important to choose your snack carefully. To begin with, read the ingredients properly.

A healthy snack, by definition, is - low in fat, especially trans fat; low in calories; low cholesterol; baked rather than fried.

A multi-grain snack made from oats, corn, ragi, rice, wheat and flax seeds is rich in fibre and provides wholesome nutrition. Oats, ragi, wheat have adequate amount of essential amino acids, vitamin B, calcium, iron and are specially rich in cellulose whereas corn is an excellent source of iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, vitamin C, phosphorous and zinc.

Overall this multi-grain snack brings you considerable health benefits along with great taste.

Of course, knowing what not to eat is as important as knowing what to eat.

One should be wise enough to avoid fried, oily and generally high-on-calorie snacks. Besides this, healthy snacks are at the crux of reducing the chances of disease, losing weight and keeping you energetic all day.

The most important advantage of eating healthy snacks is that you do not binge later on foods that are unhealthy and may become the leading cause of obesity and other diseases.

Guilt free snacking involves marrying health and taste.

Contrary to the popular belief, healthy snacking does not mean compromising on your taste preferences. It is only about making the right choices. An informed choice can help you pick snacks that offer health and taste together.

`To encourage healthy snacking, have a variety available. This helps tend to a range of taste preferences. Snacking boosts metabolism, helps maintain blood sugar and allows for efficient absorption of nutrients. It is a good way to promote healthy, long-term eating patterns`, says Dr. Rittika Samaddar, Dietician Max Hospitals, Delhi.

Snacking is an impulse, a fun experience, a yearning, a mood changer and sometimes a quick fix for your problems. It is time you make this experience a healthy one too without changing the fun element in it. If your craving leads you to munching, healthy munching can make it remorse free too!

All of us face the dilemma of snacking or not snacking. Ask Radhika Jain, an undergraduate student from Delhi, `I tend to give in to my temptation of snacking every now and then, but what comes along is a huge guilt pang for the entire day. Carrying home-made healthy snacks or fruits on a regular basis is a good idea but almost impossible to continue on a regular basis. Hence, like all conscious weight watchers, I try to avoid these munching breaks`.

But what about the in-between meal cravings?

`We all tend to give in to our cravings to get instant energy and to tend to our taste buds. With healthier options for snacking, I will not have to avoid them anymore. In fact they can be more fun as there will be no guilt element involved!` says Radhika. There are increasing numbers of people who will be able to identify with Radhika.

Craving is the most common reason for munching across all age groups.

But with munching becoming a healthy exercise, we don`t have to worry about it anymore. Ever imagined a healthy snack? With more and more snacking options flooding the market, it`s time you make judicious choices.

So if munching that crunchy snack can satisfy your craving and re-fill your drained energy stores, go ahead with it! Pick your option with precision and have a happy guilt free munching!

Source: IBNS
Image: Flickr/creativecommons rubygoes

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