Snacks boost energy.
Perhaps it was your mother who told you that snacking would ruin your appetite. But for people with MS, more frequent mini-meals may be just what the body needs to fight off holiday fatigue and stay energized throughout the busiest day. Be snack savvy. Snacking can actually add a fiber and nutrition boost to your diet and help manage unwanted weight.
Grab & go snacks
* Reduced-fat cheese sticks
* Individually packaged veggies--some come with dip
* Hard-boiled eggs
* Fresh or dried fruit
* Thinly spread your favorite nut butter (peanut, almond, etc.) on whole grain toast or try it on slices of apples, bananas, or pears. For a spread with nutritional pizzazz, mix equal parts of peanut butter, honey, and wheat germ or ground flax seeds.
* Go nuts. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts are rich in protein, healthy fats--and calories. Keep portions small.
* Make your own snack mix of pretzel sticks, dry-roasted nuts or sunflower seeds, wheat cereal squares, and dried cranberries, raisins, or cherries.
* Try edamame (boiled green soybeans)--find them in the produce section or the frozen vegetable aisle.
From the garden
* For a change from celery and carrot sticks, try sugar snap peas, cucumber, jicama slices, or strips of red or yellow bell peppers. Dip in a low-fat ranch or a favorite salsa--or hummus or bean dip for a protein boost.
* Bake a sweet potato in the microwave (pierce with a fork first) and top with 1 teaspoon maple syrup.
* For those who don't like vegetables, try rolling blanched asparagus or cut-up bell peppers in a slice of ham or turkey and low-fat Swiss cheese.
Choose low- or non-fat dairy products.
* Give yogurt an extra zip! Add graham crackers, granola, chopped nuts, or toasted wheat germ, or top with chopped fresh kiwi or figs (the seeds of these fruits add a fiber boost).
* Add sliced strawberries, chopped pineapple, or mandarin oranges to cottage cheese.
* Blend low-fat milk, yogurt, or fortified soy milk or orange juice with fruit for a delicious smoothie.
Denise Nowack, RD, is a registered dietitian, and executive vice president of Programs with the southern California Chapter.