ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – With health and nutrition becoming more popular, making intelligent food choices is easier. This is true when it comes to building a healthy meal, but what are people reaching for in their drawers at work or purchasing at vending machines? Snacks.
Tara Beth Johnson, 97th Medical Group Nutrition Program manager, shares her ideas about healthy snacks to satisfy morning and afternoon cravings.
“If you don’t have access to refrigeration, I think nuts are an awesome choice,” Johnson said. “They have protein, carbohydrates and fat. There aren’t many foods that have all three.”
Though nuts are full of nutrition, Johnson expresses the importance of moderation.
“The only thing I caution people with about nuts is that they’re very caloric,” Johnson said. “One serving of nuts is about the amount that will fit on a three by three Post It. Don’t ever eat out of the can.”
People with a sweet tooth can get their fix as well.
“Sometimes you just need something a little sweet,” Johnson said. “Cereal bars are great, but look for ones as low in sugar as you can get because some have quite a bit of added sugars.”
Chocolate is also a healthy snack, Johnson said.
“Something that is individually packaged in small packaging with at least 70 percent cacao is good,” Johnson said. “The higher the cacao percentage, the better. It’s not overly sweet, but you still get the good antioxidants in chocolate.”
Johnson shared the reasons why people may feel that healthy snacks don’t taste as good as the snacks they’re used to.
“I think it’s what you become accustomed to and your expectations for things,” Johnson said. “For example, some canned soups are extremely high in sodium. When you’re accustomed to eating canned soups that are high in sodium and you decide to switch to low-sodium soup, the low-sodium soup will taste terrible at first, but you get used to it. Then when you try the high-sodium soup again, it will taste awful.”
That’s what’s cool about taste buds, Johnson said. “Our taste buds are very malleable. We get used to what we get used to.”
Johnson will start her nutrition workshops around Oct. 30.
“It is called ‘Better body, better life’,” Johnson said. “This workshop encompasses diet, behavior modification and physical activity and is designed to help individuals seeking to lose and maintain their weight and enjoy an overall healthy lifestyle.”
For more questions about health and nutrition, contact the 97th MDG Nutrition Program manager at 481-5251 or visit the base Health and Wellness Center.