Snacking is an excellent way to fill in nutritional gaps and boost energy without causing weight-gain worries. Here is a checklist for heart healthy snacking:

 Reach for a glass of water first to help curb your appetite.

 Plan your snacks ahead of time so you have snacks you like and are good for your heart.

 Choose snacks low in calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar.

 Watch the kinds of carbohydrates you eat. Carbs from sugars and sweets may provide a quick burst of energy, followed by an energy-draining blood sugar low. Instead get carbs from foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fruit. Eat 2 tablespoons of nuts or 1 ounce of low-fat cheese with your carbs to control your blood sugar rise.

 Measure out your snack food portion and put away the rest for later. (If you cannot do it on your own, consider buying food packaged by calorie count.)

 Avoid using snacks to comfort yourself when stressed, upset, or dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Do not snack in front of the TV or computer, where it’s easy to overeat. Focus on enjoying your food……every bite!

 Avoid all-day nibbling.

 Keep raw fruits and vegetables in the front of your refrigerator for quick picks when you are in the mood for a snack.

 East smaller portions at meals times so that you can afford the extra calories when you are snacking.

 Be careful about the energy bars you choose. These bars come in handy for meal replacement, but as a snack many contain too much fat and/or sugar and too little fiber. When selecting an energy bar, look for at least 3 grams of fiber, at least 5 grams of protein, no saturated fat, and fewer than 20 grams of sugar.

 Do not snack if you are extremely hungry.

Here are 10 heart healthy snacks:

 Half whole wheat English muffin

 One ounce low-fat cheddar cheese

 One tablespoon peanut butter

 One medium apple

 One cup raw broccoli

 One cup strawberries

 One cup raw cauliflower

 One cup cooked oatmeal plain

 Two cups air-popped popcorn

 One stick low-fat string cheese

Do not forget to register for the Annual Heart Healthy Seminar on Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m to noon. You may attend by Zoom or in person at the Harrison County Extension Office, 102 W. Houston, Marshall.

If you attend in person, you will be required to wear a mask. Seats are limited. Registration deadline is February 19th.

For more information on this topic, contact the Harrison County Extension Office at 903-935-8414.

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