Having a healthy snack in between meals is an effective way to get the additional nutrients in your diet. Snacking also prevent you from overeating when having your regular meal. Most Americans get an average of 24% of their calories each day from snack food. This is a big amount, thus it is crucial to choose healthy snack options to maintain a healthy diet.

Why go for healthy snacks?

Your overall health would improve with healthy snacks. It gives you the energy to keep going the whole day, boosts your brainpower, improves your mood, helps you prevent weight gain and cuts back your craving.

There are several food that you can eat in between meals, including legumes, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts, fresh and dried fruits and vegetables. These are packed with protein, fiber and nutrients that are good for your body and prevent your blood sugar from dipping or spiking. They prevent you from giving in to your sweet tooth and choose candies, soft drinks, sweets and desserts that are laden with sugar.

Pair carbohydrates and protein so you remain full longer. You can have fresh fruits and plain yogurt, or spread peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers. You can also pair an apple with string cheese or dip carrot sticks in hummus. Choose vegetables and fruits, as these are low in calories and high in vitamin content.

To further convince you that choosing healthier snack food is beneficial to your health, here are some of the reasons.

1. Controls overeating

When you have a snack, you would not get very hungry, which prevents you from overeating. A healthy snack will give you some of the nutrients you need for the day. It is suggested that you eat snack food rich in carbohydrate such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains together with protein-rich food like dairy products and nuts.

2. Stabilizes your blood sugar

Diabetics and even those without diabetes would benefit from having satiating food between meals. The level of blood sugar will stabilize when you snack, especially if you take a consistent amount of carbohydrates. It helps prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Blood sugar level goes down about 3-5 hours after you've eaten. Having small, frequent snacks boosts your metabolism so your blood sugar level normalizes. When you're hungry your body goes into panic mode, which results in slower metabolism that can lead to overeating and soon, excess weight.

3. Supplies daily nutrient needs

It is essential to have nutritious snacks to meet your daily nutrient needs. It is better if your snacks consist of foods dense with nutrients, such as seeds or nuts, low-fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. You meet your nutritional needs for the day, but you will not put on extra pounds.

4. Boosts your brain, mood and energy

Nutrient-rich snacks add fuel to your body to keep you going. Sugary snacks provide you with a quick boost of energy but it is also followed by a crash. You'll be left sleepy, cranky and hungry. It will be difficult for you to concentrate. Healthy snacks on the other hand are slow burning, so you are able to maintain your energy the entire day.

Eating several small snacks a day prevents you from getting sleepy after a meal, which happens when you consume too many calories in one meal. Cheese, eggs and tofu are just some of the snack foods that are rich in protein and contain amino acids that help keep you alert.

Including walnuts, tuna and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your list of satiating bites between meals help prevent anxiety, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure.

It is important to snack only when you are hungry. It is also important not to have a snack close to mealtime. Moreover, keep in mind that snacking because you are bored is not healthy. See to it that your snack should be around 100 calories only.