Winter is upon us, which means that everyone is bundled up in sweatshirts and pajamas sitting in front of the television waiting for the snow outside to melt in 3 months. Getting into that bikini swim suit (and looking good in it) is probably not on the top of your priority list right now. That is OK. You have a little time to get in shape.
The problem with this way of thinking though, is that most people add fuel to the fire by eating junk food. Living a sedentary life, even if it is only for a few months, is bad enough. If you want to relax this winter, go for it! But at least eat properly. Here are 10 tasty and healthy snacks that are great for television downtime.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #1: Popcorn
You are better off skipping it at the movie theater, but at home you can prepare it in a healthy way. A bucket of oil-popped movie theater popcorn can contain as much fat as three to five double cheeseburgers. But air-popped popcorn is a relatively healthy treat. Three cups of popcorn have just 93 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #2: Pistachios
Pistachios are a great heart-healthy snack full of antioxidants, fiber, and good fats. A 1/2-cup serving only has 170 calories, with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. However, that serving also has 14 grams of fat, so do not stuff yourself on them. They key here are the shells. Since they are difficult to open, more work is involved which will make you eat slower.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #3: Red Grapes
OK, you had to have known that fruits and vegetables would be on this list. As much as people want to avoid them these days, there will never be a processed snack food that will even come close to matching the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables. At the top of the pile is red grapes. Full of anti-oxidants and vitamins, red grapes are natures answer to sweet candy.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #4: Mini-pizzas
Forget the frozen food section on this one. Anyone with a toaster can make their own healthy version of frozen pizza. All you need is a whole wheat English muffin, tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese. The more vegetables and herbs you add to it, the healthier and tastier it will be.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #5: Pita chips With Hummus
This is another snack you must make on your own if you want it healthy. All you need is a large whole wheat pita. Cut the edge of the pita into chip-size pieces. and then cook them in the oven until crispy before serving with your favorite hummus or dip recipe. In general, when you rely on pre-packaged foods to do the work for you, the price you pay for it is your health.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #6: Relish Tray
Pickled vegetables are extremely low in calories and a great alternative to snacking on high fat, high sugar processed foods. Marinating your vegetables in vinegar or heart-healthy olive oil will control the amount of salt you eat. The reason fruits and vegetables accelerate weight loss is because they are water rich, which means you get a full, satisfied feeling without the calories.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #7: Green Tea
You may not think this is technically a snack, but the health benefits of drinking just one cup of green tea a day can allow you to splurge a little more than usual and still keep your figure in tact. The reason this works is because this beverage has been known to actually stimulate and accelerate a persons metabolism. At the same time it fills you up, so you have a more satisfied, healthy feeling.
Healthy Snacks for TV Couch Time #8: Protein Bars
This is the closest thing you will get to eating a chocolate candy bar that is relatively healthy. The best reason these are great for snacking is because they are not trigger foods like crackers and potato chips, so you will not want want to eat a lot at once. Protein helps build lean muscle mass, which is essential if you plan on being sedentary until the spring.
Not that this needs to be said, but you can enjoy even more snack food if you can work some exercise into your TV watching. Sit-ups and push-ups, or even getting up and moving around during commercials, will at least keep you more active. You can even burn calories just stretching out your body. Anything is better than sitting for hours without moving. You do enough of that at night when you are asleep.
Just because you want to stay in and relax does not mean you have to eat poorly. Replace your junk food cabinet with the foods listed above and when it comes time for the snow to melt, you will find that you will not have to work so hard at looking your best in that swimsuit. The key here is making an attempt to lead a healthy lifestyle all year around.
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