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March is National Nutrition Month


Americans love snacking. On any given day, 90 percent of us nibble between meals. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“Not all snacking is automatically wrong,” said Kira Wiggins, RD, CDE and director of The Wellness Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH). “When you get that grumble in your stomach, it’s more than OK to satisfy that hunger as long as you’ve formed good habits to make healthy choices.”
Chosen wisely, snacks can be part of a healthy diet by:

  • Taking the edge off hunger so you don’t overeat at mealtime.
  • Raising your intake of fruits and vegetables.
  • Contributing important vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • To make the best snacking choices, think about when and where the urge to nosh usually strikes you — then plan ahead.
At home. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole-wheat items, and try to include at least two food groups in every snack. Be sure your healthy snacks are arranged front and center in the fridge or pantry. Mix and match for small but tummy-filling servings of protein and fiber like these:
  • A wedge of steamed sweet potato topped with Greek yogurt.
  • Almond butter and raisins on whole-wheat toast.
  • Zucchini circles, broccoli spears or red pepper slices dipped in hummus.
  • Frozen yogurt and sliced banana between two graham crackers.
At work. Stash these in your briefcase or desk (use snack-size Ziplock bags to help limit the portions):
  • Whole-grain cereal mixed with unsalted walnuts and dried apricots.
  • Fat-free microwave popcorn.
  • Instant oatmeal.
  • Multigrain rice cakes and mini packets of peanut butter.

At play. Whether you’re a soccer fan or a golf pro, these portables can stave off hunger (and help you stay hydrated):
  • A fresh pear.
  • Baby carrots.
  • A single-serving can of low-salt vegetable juice.
  • 100 percent fruit juice mixed with seltzer water.
  • Remember: The best time to snack is when you’re actually hungry. If the notion to nibble hits when you’re bored or frustrated, seek another distraction — call a friend, take a walk or read a magazine.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Institute for Cancer Research; Produce for Better Health Foundation
If you would like to interview Kira Wiggins, a registered dietitian and the director of The Wellness Center at SJCH, about Healthy Snacking or any other nutrition-related topic during this National Nutrition Month, please contact the SJCH Marketing Department at (661)-869-6560.