Snacks are an essential part of our daily eating habits and choosing the right food to snack on is a cautious and critical decision. Mid-meal snacking is the most challenging part for people when it comes to making appropriate choices.
As is rightly said, “We Are What We Eat!”. Choosing the correct food and avoiding empty calories is necessary not only when you are struggling to lose weight but also to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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This is where most of us tend to stray from our otherwise healthy diet and undo all our good work that has gone into it until then.
Saying so, snacking between meals is extremely essential; to balance blood sugar levels and keep you satisfied for longer.
If you choose carefully, a wholesome snack can be packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients and good fats.
The aim should be to maximize nutrition and minimize poor food choices and empty kilojoules.
Coming to sweets and desserts, most of us have a sweet tooth and find it extremely hard to resist digging into some decadent treats.
This is where you need to be careful! If you crave something sweet, have a small amount of dark chocolate, or a date/fig following your meal.
Although, you should make sure you don’t eat dates on an empty stomach, as they are sky high on the GI index and will send your blood sugar levels rocketing through the roof.
A smart trick is to stuff dates with raw almonds to blunt the blood sugar response.
If you do feel hungry between meals, stick to foods on the below mentioned snack list. Each choice is packed with wholesome nutrition and you can pick according to your mood.
1. Mixed Nuts
Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack. They have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and may help prevent certain cancers, depression and other diseases.
Despite being relatively high in fat, they are extremely filling. Several studies suggest that eating nuts in moderation can help you lose weight.
They also taste great and do not require refrigeration. Thus they are perfect for carrying with you when away from home.
2. Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries
Plain Greek yogurt and berries make a delicious, nutrient-dense snack.
In addition to being a great source of calcium and potassium, Greek yogurt is also high in protein.
Berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants around.
You will get a good variety of antioxidants if you consume a mixture of different-colored berries.
3. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Apples and peanut butter taste fantastic together.
Apples are high in fiber and polyphenol antioxidants that improve gut health and reduce heart disease risk.
Peanut butter may have additional benefits for heart health.
It has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
4. Kale Chips
Kale is incredibly healthy. It is loaded with fiber and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol.
These compounds decrease blood pressure and may reduce the risk of colon cancer. A cup serving of raw kale provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins A, C and K.
5. Cottage Cheese with Flax Seeds and Cinnamon
Cottage cheese, flax seeds and cinnamon each have impressive health benefits on their own. Together, they are a super-healthy snack.
Cottage cheese is a high-protein food that is very filling, and full-fat varieties contain conjugated linoleic acid, which may help reduce body fat.
Flax seeds are beneficial for weight loss, blood sugar control and may also reduce breast cancer risk. Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar and may improve gut health.
6. Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Dark chocolate and almonds make a rich, satisfying and portable snack.
Dark chocolate is loaded with flavanols that may lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk, provided the chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa solids.
Almonds are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and have beneficial effects on blood sugar control. Studies also show that they can reduce appetite and help you lose weight.
Both dark chocolate and almonds are high in magnesium. One ounce of each provides about 300 calories in total, depending on cocoa content.
7. Cucumber Slices with Hummus
Cucumber and hummus are nutritious and go well together. Cucumbers contain cucurbitacin E, a compound that may have anti-cancer effects.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, olive oil and garlic, which reduce inflammation and may improve heart health. One cup of sliced cucumbers dipped in 3.5 oz (100 grams) of hummus has about 180 calories.
8. A Piece of Fruit
Healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying.
Examples of fruit that are portable and can be eaten with almost no preparation include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit and oranges.
5 Healthy recipes for healthy snacking
1. Kale Chips
- 1 cup bite-sized kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Place kale pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and
- bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–15 minutes.
2.Avocado and Strawberry Smoothie
- Take ½ an avocado, peel it, stone it and cut into chunks.
- Add the avocado, 150g halved strawberries,
- 4 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt, 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- and some lemon or lime juice and honey (if desired) into a blender and whizz until smooth.
- If the consistency is too thick, add a little water.
3.Instant Frozen Berry Yogurt
- Add 250g frozen mixed berries,
- 250g 0% fat Greek yogurt and 1 tbsp honey or agave syrup into a food processor
- and blend for 20 seconds,
- until it comes together to a smooth ice cream texture.
- Scoop into bowls and serve immediately.
4. Peanut Hummus with Fruit & Veg Sticks
- Drain a 380g carton chickpeas and reserve the liquid.
- Tip three-quarters of the chickpeas into a food processor with 3 tbsp of the chickpea liquid.
- To this, add the zest and juice of half a lemon, 1 tbsp tahini, ½ – 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts and 1 tsp olive oil.
- Blitz until smooth, then stir in the remaining one-quarter of the chickpeas. Cut 4 celery sticks and 2 carrots into batons.
- Then core 2 crisp red apples and cut into slices. You can use the remaining ½ lemon to squeeze over the apple slices to stop them browning if you like. Serve with the peanut hummus.
- Roast a packet of makhana in some ghee and a little bit of salt and pepper.
- These snacks will definitely make your life easier and much healthier.
- Now say no to unhealthy snacking and hello to health and yumminess.
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