Now That’s a Snack, Jack

Close Up Of Woman Eating Handful Of AlmondsThe words “new baby” and “energy” may seem at odds with each other. Nothing takes more attention, planning, care and energy than your new bundle of joy. But you can’t take good care of your newborn unless you’re taking good care of yourself. Healthy food choices need to be an important part of your plan, and that includes snacking, when necessary, to keep your energy level up.

Snacks help you maintain a healthy metabolism and prevent the hunger between meals that can lead to unhealthy food choices. Choose snacks that are 150 calories or less per serving. Resist the temptation to grab a soda, energy drink or sugary flavored coffee – they may energize you for a couple of hours, but they’re full of empty calories and can pack an energy crash when they wear off.

Some snacks can be divided up into baggies, so you’ll have just the right amount on hand. And that makes them easy to keep in your car, purse, diaper bag, or even in your kitchen. Remember that snacks aren’t meant to fill you up, but to tide you over from one meal to the next. Try these healthy options:

  • Fruit: Apples, pears and oranges have 65-100 calories with lots of fiber and essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And they don’t spoil easily, so you can have them on hand for a few days at a time.
  • Raw almonds and walnuts: These super-healthy nuts are heart-healthy and rich in the “good” fats and fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and keep you feeling full. Keep serving sizes to 14 to 23 nuts.
  • String cheese: A part-skim stick has about 70 calories along with calcium and protein. And they’re fun to eat!
  • Cereal: Choose crunchy goodness that’s high in fiber and low in sugar. Many cereals are made with heart-healthy whole grains and now have vitamins and minerals in them. Throw in almonds for added protein.
  • Milk: Whether low-fat, fat-free or an alternative option such as soy or almond milk, milk is an easy way to drink a healthy snack.
  • Snack bars: While they can be a great choice for an easy-to-grab snack, be sure to read the labels – lots are packed with sugar and calories. Pick brands with more fiber and less sugar.
  • Dried fruits and vegetables: Bananas, cherries, mangoes, pineapple, pomegranates, peppers, carrots and peas are good spoil-proof snacks. Be sure to pick ones that aren’t loaded with extra sugar, salt or preservatives.
  • Popcorn: Go for low-fat microwave versions in 100-calorie bags, or the fat-free variety. It’s the perfect mid-afternoon or after dinner snack.
  • Do-it-yourself trail mix: Combine dried fruit, unsalted almonds or walnuts, and popcorn for a quick, flavorful snack mix that covers all the bases.

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about healthy food choices.