Healthful snacks can contribute to cancer prevention in two important ways: Smart snacking aids binge control, which helps you maintain a proper weight and reduces your risk of obesity-related cancers like breast, colon, uterine, esophageal and kidney. And healthful snacks pump up your intake of cancer-fighting nutrients.
The American Cancer Society urges people to eat a healthful diet that emphasizes plant sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Consuming the recommended amount of calcium—1,000 mg to 1,200 mg a day for most adults—also plays a role in protecting against colorectal cancer.
When your next snack attack hits, choose from among these nutritious options to satisfy your hunger and help protect your health:
- Spread a spoonful of part-skim ricotta over half of a cinnamon-raisin bagel. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with thinly sliced apple pieces.
- Top a small baked potato with a dollop of fat-free plain yogurt and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.
- Toast a whole-wheat pita bread or tortilla. Cut into triangles and dip into hummus.
- Freeze berries, grapes or chunks of banana or pineapple. Frozen fruit tastes like a sweet sorbet.
- Keep your refrigerator stocked with washed, cut, ready-to-eat veggies and fruits like baby carrots, sugar snap peas, snow peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, pepper strips, cucumber slices, grape or cherry tomatoes, pears, apples, oranges, nectarines, peaches, kiwis, grapes, berries, bananas and more.
- Nibble on a handful of frozen sweet peas as you prepare dinner to ward off the munchies.
- Mix one-quarter cup cold leftover chicken with sliced seedless grapes, a half tablespoon sunflower seeds, one tablespoon plain yogurt or fat-free mayonnaise and a dash of curry powder. Stuff the mixture into a hollowed-out sweet pepper or whole-grain pita.
- Spread low-fat cream cheese or hummus on a tortilla and wrap it around tomato slices, lettuce, black beans, garbanzo beans and leftover or grilled chicken.