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Culinarian's Day: 5 Tips from Our Chefs for Healthy Snacking

This month is the time to shine for culinarians – a fancy word for people who love and understand food and who appreciate a nice meal. July 25 is Culinarian's Day, a time to celebrate the art and science of food: cooking food, serving food, eating food.

At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, we believe home is where the heart is, but the quickest way to the heart is through the stomach. That’s why all of our communities place such a special emphasis on our dining program—offering a variety of delicious heart-healthy meals, flexible and “anytime” dining options, and special bistros and coffee bars.

Meals are a time when our residents can get together, break bread, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s also a time for them to nourish their bodies with cuisine they find delicious and nutritious. That can be a tough combination to find in our world of sugary treats and high-fat options.

To help you stay healthy with your Culinarians Day savory or sweet treats, here are five tips from our community chefs for healthy snacking:

  • Look for food that looks like food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts: we recognize these for what they are. “Foods” that have been processed into unnatural shapes and stained with artificial colors tend to be higher in fats, bad cholesterol and sugar.

  • Think “snack” rather than “graze.” It’s easy to fall into the habit of constantly snacking throughout the day, often ruining our appetite at meal time. The trouble with this habit is that a diet of snacks tends to have less variety and balance than a diet of meals. There’s nothing wrong with an afternoon snack, but be sure to keep it contained.

  • Read the label. It’s amazing how many empty calories snack makers can pack into a serving. Taking a few moments to read the label (and the suggested serving size) will fill you in on calorie count, sodium and cholesterol levels, and more. While you may choose to snack away, being conscious of what you eat is a great step toward eating more healthfully.

  • Try something different. Cookies and potato chips may be standard go-to snacks, with a few healthful alternatives on the back bench (think carrots, apple slices, almonds). Why not try something out of the ordinary? A kale smoothie, a fresh kiwi, or perhaps something more exotic, such as a tamarind, can spice up your life and give you a boost of nutrients.

  • Indulge once in a while. We would never advise anyone to stray from a doctor-prescribed diet, and we know many people have life-critical dietary restrictions, but there are usually small ways you can indulge. An occasional sweet treat will taste all the sweeter if it’s a rare indulgence.

With these tips in mind for healthful snacking, bon appetite!