By Susan Male-Smith, R.D. for Live Right Live Well
I like to snack ... and I’m a dietitian. Don’t laugh; that’s not an oxymoron. Snacking isn’t a bad thing if you’re savvy about it.
I also used to suffer from chronic heartburn. Medication helped calm the chronic problem, but snacks still save me from occasional sleepless nights of acid reflux pain. How? One of the biggest heartburn triggers is overeating. Big meals spell big trouble. The solution? I eat small meals and snack in between. That way I don’t get too hungry, and I’m less likely to overeat.
Of course, what you choose to snack on also matters. Fortunately, nutritious foods are also often the ones least likely to aggravate heartburn -- especially if they have a low glycemic load. This means they are digested slowly, so they help you feel full longer and prevent overeating. Snacks with a low glycemic load typically have the following qualities:
What smart snacks do I eat? My first choice is nuts. As long as I keep it to a handful, I don’t worry about the calories. In fact, peanuts -- “honorary” nuts -- boast a super-low glycemic load and provide a slew of nutrients. My favorite snack? Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast or celery. Or apple slices dipped in peanut butter.
On the go? Skip vending machine chips and candy bars and go with the small bag of peanuts instead.
Other great heartburn-friendly snacks include the following:
Susan Male-Smith is a registered dietitian and freelance nutrition and health writer. She is a co-author of Foods for Better Health and former editor of the Environmental Nutrition newsletter. She has also written for Family Circle, Redbook, Child and American Health.
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