Healthy Snacking: Fruit & Vegetables
Updated: Jan 30, 2021
During Coronavirus quarantine, I've heard so many people talking about gaining the COVID-19 pounds. Sitting at home worried, bored, and adjusting to a new lifestyle that you were thrown into can cause people to change their eating habits. I'm an emotional eater too. When I have a rough day I crave high fat foods like fried foods or something with lots of butter. I'm not usually a snacker. I will buy some popcorn at the movie theatre for the principle of it. During normal times I focus on meals and not snacks. But during quarantine, I have been snacking a lot.
Snacking doesn't have to mean excessive calories. Snacks don't have to come from highly processed sources or items that don't have any nutritional benefits. If you find yourself craving something sweet or crunchy, you don't have to reach for candy bars or potato chips. Fruits and vegetables are great snacks that are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
I put my snack options out or at a place where I can easily choose from in the refrigerator. One of my drawers or shelves is dedicated to snacks so that way I've made good decisions before hand and I know what's available. Many fruits and vegetables are stable at room temperature so you can have a nice bowl full of apples, pears, oranges. During the peak of the summer months, I've enjoyed peaches, nectarines, cherries, and plums. It's best to buy your produce in season because it tastes better and you can find local produce to support your community. I've been buying cherries a lot and am sad that the season for them is almost over.
If your favorite fruits are out of season, you can still buy the frozen fruits and thaw them for snacking or blend them in a thick smoothie. The frozen items are harvest during the peak of the season and are then frozen to lock in that peak taste.
I've found that most of the snacking that I find myself doing lately is the craving finger foods. You can still do this with fruit by cutting up whole fruit. Cutting up your fruit and vegetables forces you to slow down in eating them. All you have to do is slice your apple, peaches, or pears. It's a great, yummy snack.
Dried fruits are also a great option for snacking. They provide a lot of fiber but are also higher in sugars than the whole fresh fruits. You may be familiar with dried plums a.k.a. prunes and raisins but you can also find lots of varieties of dried fruits like apricots, blueberries, apples, cherries, and cranberries.
And let's not forget that raw vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, and cucumbers are great for snacking. Even zucchini and summer squash are good eaten raw.
The benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks
Low in calories
High in volume (helps you to feel full)
Provides fiber to help with digestion, blood sugar control, and heart health
Provides vitamins like Vitamin C, A, B vitamins, and Folate
Provides minerals like Calcium, Copper, Zinc, Phosphorus, Potassium
Helps to satisfy a sweet tooth
Helps to satisfy a desire for a crunchy snack
Some Great Fruits for Snacking (All of Them! But here's a starting list)
Some Great Vegetables for Snacking
The next time you are tempted to reach for a snack, try some fruits and vegetables as an alternative. You'll feel better about your decision and your body will thank you for it. You'll also be on your way to getting rid of your COVID-19.