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Healthy snacking is important during planting, harvest time

By Rae Wagoner
Kentucky Soybean Board
Many of our area farmers have been spending a number of hours in the cab of a tractor recently, often planting from sunup until long after sundown. With all of that time spent in a sitting position, it’s easy to pack on a few pounds, especially if your cooler is full of sugary sodas and your snack pack is crammed with high-calorie goodies.
Sure, it’s easy to grab a big bag of chips and some snack cakes or candy bars to fill time (and your belly) during the long hours in the cab, but a healthy snacking plan will benefit you in the long run. Snacking IS important, because it keeps hunger under control between meals.
If breakfast is at 5:30 a.m., lunch at noon (maybe) and the evening meal (sometimes) not until 8 p.m. or later, there must be some fuel added to keep the body going between times.
What you snack on and when you snack are equally important. Studies show that eating every three or four hours keeps blood sugar regulated (unless you eat a six-pack of Snickers) and can help you maintain or even lose weight during what
are often oops-I-packed-on-a-few-pounds times of the year, such as planting and harvest seasons.
Don’t forget to take stock of what’s in the cooler — sugary drinks combined with a sedentary day in the planter or combine are no good for your blood sugar or the number on the scales. For example, there are 290 calories in a single 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew!
And don’t pat yourself on the back too hard if you’re drinking diet soft drinks. Even though you’ve avoided empty calories, all those
artificial sweeteners aren’t doing your health any favors.
Diet drinks confuse the body, dulling the senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit. They are
associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, they have no
nutritional value, are linked to headaches, and diet soft drinks could ruin your smile over time
because of all the citric acid they contain.
Snacking, when done properly, can improve the healthiness of your overall eating plan. Just remember to make smart choices when
heading out for a long day in the planter or combine, and drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Healthy options

  1. Instead of a bag of chips, grab a bag of apples. They’ll satisfy a sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline.
  2. Nuts are a good source of protein. Although some varieties have a high calorie count, there are health benefits over other salty snacks. For a change of pace from the traditional peanut, try some soy nuts – many grocery retailers are selling these crunchy sources of protein in a variety of flavors.
  3. If you must have snack crackers, choose the ones with peanut butter to add protein, which has staying power. Tuna can also be kept in a cooler for a light cracker snack.
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay
    hydrated.
    Sugary drinks combined with a sedentary day in the planter or combine are no good for your blood sugar or the number on the scales. For example, there are 290 calories in a single 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew!
    Diet soft drinks confuse the body, dulling the senses to naturally sweet foods like fruit. They are associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, they have no nutritional value, are linked to headaches, and could ruin your smile over time because of all the citric acid they contain.v
  5. Baby carrots and cherry or grape tomatoes are healthy snack alternatives, either by themselves or with a healthy dip.
  6. String cheese and beef jerky both travel well and increase your protein consumption while decreasing your intake of carbohydrates, which can cause you to feel hungry soon after eating.

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