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Snacks part 2: Best low calorie snacks

Now that we have taken a look at the best low calorie dairy snacks, it’s time to move on to part 2: Best low calorie crunchy snacks. Let’s review the basic criteria for a ‘healthy’ snack? Keep the following in mind when choosing your snacks:

  • Offer between 100 and 200 calories
  • Are fat-controlled (unless it’s heart-healthy unsaturated fat), providing 0 g trans fats and 3 g saturated fat or less per serving
  • Are relatively low in sodium; strive to limit the sodium in your low-calorie snacks to 400 mg or less
  • Are nutrient-rich: a good food source of protein, dietary fiber and/or key vitamin and minerals (such as iron, vitamins A, C or calcium)
  • Offer a little something extra: are available in calorie-controlled portions, contain no high-fructose corn syrup and little added sugar; are gluten or lactose-free, have added omega-3 fatty acids, etc…

These snacks are all about convenience – they are widely available and take no preparation time/work. Another benefit of these snacks is that they are all healthy for a vegetarian/vegan.

Snacks: Top 3 low-calorie crunchy picks

Crispy snacks: Best pick

  • Popcorn, Indiana Sea Salt Chip’ins: ‘Popcorn’ chips are the hottest new snacks in the chip aisle. They are made with simple, all natural ingredients: corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt. They are ‘popped’ instead of baked and have an extra crispy texture. These crunchy snacks are whole-grain based and gluten-free. They come in a variety of other flavors, such as Classic BBQ and White Cheddar. A 1-oz. serving of the Sea Salt Chip’ins provides 120 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0 g saturated/trans fats, 22 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber and 230 mg sodium. For an extra nutrition boost, make a homemade salsa for dipping with diced tomato, red onion, jalapeno or Serrano pepper, lime juice, chopped cilantro and a dash of pepper, sea salt and cumin (optional) to taste.

Nutty snacks: Top choice

  • Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Almonds: These oven roasted almond snacks come in many flavors, sweet flavors, such as butter toffee and cinnamon brown sugar and savory flavors, such as plain and sea salt. Nuts, in general, make for healthy snacks. A 1-oz. serving of the sea salt oven roasted almonds provides 170 calories, 15 g fat (only 1 g saturated fat), 5 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber and 135 mg sodium. In addition to being naturally (nearly) sugar-free, these almond snacks are nutrient-rich. One serving is a good/excellent source of vitamin E, riboflavin (B2), phosphorus, copper, magnesium and manganese.

Protein-rich vegan snacks: Nutrition beyond compare

  • Steamed or boiled soybeans (in the pod) with sea salt: this snack only takes a small amount of preparation. You’ll need 1/4 lb. fresh soybeans or 4 ounces frozen (bagged); Kosher or sea salt and rice crackers (these make a nice accompaniment). In a pot of boiling water, add the soybeans and cook until they are bright green (about 5 minutes). Drain and refresh in cold water. Sprinkle with salt and serve with a couple of rice crackers. A 1-cup serving of prepared soybeans (without salt or crackers) provides 189 calories, 8 g fat (only 1 g saturated), 16 g carbohydrates, a whopping 17 g of protein and 8 g dietary fiber (roughly 1/3 of your daily requirement) and 7 mg sodium (naturally occurring). Soybeans are nutrition superstars. In addition to being an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, they are high in iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, potassium, folate, vitamins C, K and others…you can’t go wrong with soybeans as snacks are rarely this naturally nutritious!

 

Functional training: 2012 fitness trend

There are quite a few new ‘buzz words’ and key trends in the fitness industry. One of the most talked about this year is functional training, also known as personalized functional training. Unlike many ‘fitness fads,’ functional training has been a continually growing trend originally used by physical therapists for years. A physical therapist, working with a client that suffers from a chronic injury (knee or back) needs to be shown creative ways to exercise without aggravating their condition. These exercises should help the client not only strengthen the target and surrounding muscles through force-resistance, but improve how the client performs everyday activities, such as bending, squatting, reaching and kneeling. After all, this should be a main motivator behind smart strength training.

Functional Training: What is it?

Functional (strength) training involves performing work against resistance, like your own body weight or resistance bands, in a way that the improvements in your strength directly enhances your performance of everyday activities, or those that are a part of daily living. The desired result is that these activities are easier to perform. Think of functional training in terms of moving through a series of smooth, rhythmic motions in the three cardinal planes of movement (frontal, transverse, and sagital). A frontal exercise would be a forward lunge, a transverse exercise would be a side leg lunge and a sagital exercise would involve bending or twisting in the core area.

Some of the movement activities you may perform (routinely) during the day include walking, running, jumping, reaching, lifting, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting and turning, climbing and lunging. functional training is all about transferring the improvements in your strength gained (in one movement) to enhance the performance of another movement. Functional training affects and involves your entire neuromuscular system. Another goal of functional training is to enhance the coordination and relationship between your nervous and muscular systems.

Functional Training: Significance

The difference between regular personal training and personalized functional training programs (some boot camps and Crossfit programs) in that the client does not perform movements until he/she is ready to handle it. It is an alternative option to the standard one-size-fits-all approach to fitness training. A client is screened and assessed by a certified personal trainer to observe his unique movement patterns, and then a very individualized, appropriate fitness program is designed for that individual. The program is designed according to the client’s current fitness level using a series of ‘purposeful’ exercises.