If you’re snacking to keep your energy up, hunger down and blood sugar steady (a smart thing to do), there’s good news. Turns out your body can feel just as satisfied with five to 10 times fewer snacking calories than you might be nibbling now. And the study that revealed all this used apple pie and potato chips, as well as chocolate — not quite the perfect nosh. But if you combine that news with our suggestions for energy-boosting, heart-loving, wrinkle-preventing snacks, you’ll see your mind and body get sharper and stronger.
• Enjoy high protein snacks such as a cup of fat-free, no-sugar-added, plain Greek yogurt and six walnut halves; 3 ounces of grilled chicken breast (no skin); a hard-boiled egg; or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on a celery stick.
• Try high-fiber foods like an apple or a bowl of 100 percent whole-grain cereal with 3 ounces of skim or almond milk topped with a banana to feel full longer.
You’ll lose the calories and gain the energy you’re looking for from your between-meal snacks.
How generosity is life-extending
Generosity is an essential nutrient. It fuels the body with good energy and strengthens not just relationships, but the heart, immune system and your desire to be good to yourself, too.
How does generosity benefit the giver? It provides an emotional and physiological buffer against harmful stress triggered by job loss, financial troubles or the death of a loved one, for example. Chronically elevated stress hormones, such as cortisol, raise blood pressure and blood sugar, which may damage blood vessels. They also weaken your immune system and damage neural connections, clouding your memory and judgment. Generosity cools down your mood and body-wide inflammation.
Want to reap the personal benefits of generosity? Start by being more generous to yourself: Set aside 10 minutes a day to meditate; it decreases stress and opens you up to new possibilities in your life. Also, start a walking program with a buddy — you can help each other reach 10,000 steps daily. Then decide to perform a simple act of generosity: Make time to help a neighbor, friend or family member with a daily challenge. It can be as simple as running an errand, cooking a meal, housecleaning or providing transportation or child care. If done frequently, you’ll feel stress dissolve and your resolve to live a more generous and healthier life come into focus.
Breakfast boosts kids’ brain power
Breakfast can have magical powers if you stack up 100 percent whole grains and lean protein. New research shows that eating breakfast every day improves your child’s verbal skills, increases the ability to get assignments done and boosts overall IQ by almost five points. It helps prevent diabetes and reduces the risk of — get this — lead poisoning.
If it’s tough to get your child to eat a healthy breakfast, try these morning menu tricks:
• Offer a make-your-own smoothie: Set out fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mangoes and bananas, plus canned pineapple or (our favorite) green veggies. Blend with a dash of milk or fresh juice and ice.
• Make 100 percent whole-grain pancakes or steel-cut oatmeal. Tip: Instead of a breakfast smoothie, blend up some fresh fruit and spread on the pancakes or cereal in place of syrup or sugar.
• Always offer some protein and healthy fats; try peanut butter on 100 percent whole-grain toast or ground flaxseed in the smoothie or hot cereal. It helps control midmorning hunger and gets your young scholar to a healthy lunchtime.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.