It has become a 21st-century habit—to snack, munch, nibble or simply “have a bite.”
You are familiar with that almost-empty feeling in your tummy between meals. Question is, are you a snacker? And if so, what are you snacking on?
If you are a confessed snack-aholic, here’s a healthy guide to a guilt-free snack:
There are several fruits you can easily include in your must-buy list. As with all fruits, simply watch out for their sugar content. Consider the following that are low in sugar: guava, avocado, raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, kiwi, olives (watch out for the sodium content), rhubarb, and blackberry.
Fruits high in sugar:
Lychee—29 grams of sugar per cup, although also high in calcium
Fig—although it also has high doses of potassium and fiber
Mango—still higher than lychee in sugar content, but rich in vitamin A
Cherry—while still relatively high in sugar, it acts as purgatives. Good for cleansing the bowels.
Grapes—rich in sugar and fiber, grapes contain resveratrol which fights inflammation.
Practical tips: If you need a sugar lift from time to time, place grapes in the freezer. They become crunchier. One to two berries are enough to prevent you from fainting when your blood sugar is low. Or, for convenience, bring a box of raisins with you.
Not all vegetables contain the same amount of water, minerals and fiber. For example, if you nibble on celery, then you are doing a lot of good to your body because it is rich in vitamin K. This speeds up wound and bruise healing and blood clotting.
Leafy greens rank highest in low carbohydrates, calorie and sugar. Add to your market basket: lettuce, spinach, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage, radish, broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms.
All-natural flavor, minus the butter or extra salt, a bag of no-frills popcorn can easily satisfy your hunger.
Velvety-blendered garbanzos with olive oil and lemon make for one of the most nutritious of hunger-easing foods. Eat with multigrain (not white) crackers or veggie sticks like carrots, cucumber, etc.
Peanuts with dried fruits (such as cranberries)
Without the extra sugar, this protein snack is guaranteed enjoyment. Walnuts and cashews also make for a good choice.
Whole wheat toast with egg white omelet
Assuming you are not gluten-sensitive, this snack can keep you going until the next meal.
Whether homemade, Greek or Icelandic, yogurt is a highly-recommended nutritious snack.
The health benefits of cottage cheese include weight loss, a good supply of protein, B complex vitamins and healthy fats, and a reduced risk of breast cancer. Cottage cheese is also a good source of various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and selenium which all play vital roles in many of the body functions.
Fresh tuna is high in omega- 3 fatty acids and protein.
Protein-rich fish that can curb cravings or hunger pangs. Buy them in bottles.
There are many nutritious, easy-to-eat protein bars made from oatmeal and nuts; choose the type that is lowest in sugar.
This high-protein food is lowest in fat when it is hard, not soft. Choose hard cheeses over the soft variety.
This is the latest craze worldwide. Choose a reputable brand known for its quality. Fair warning: Don’t add too many sugary toppings.
Whether from cows or goats, milk is a high-calcium, protein and casein-laden food. Just one glass gives your tummy a feeling of fullness. If you are lactose intolerant, try rice or almond milk.
Eat the sweet potato kind; and, if given a choice, oven-baked is better, rather than fried. This snack carries a beta-carotene punch.
Reserving the best for last, chocoholics will agree to this. This brown food preparation comes from Theobroma cacao seeds which have been fermented, roasted and ground.
Called by the Mayans and Aztecs as “xocolat” (bitter water), chocolate has been used as a beverage since 1900 BC.
Lauded for its anti-oxidant properties, chocolate is fondly considered today as “dark medicine.” Look for the dark (not the plain, white sugary) variety. Choose the 65-85 percent dark chocolate.
Chocolate’s health benefits:
Mineral-rich, with iron, manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium, zinc, selenium
Theobromine and caffeine that will not keep you awake, but will provide enough energy to your body
Orac—that’s chocolate’s high oxygen radical absorbance capacity.
Nitric oxide—flavonoids in chocolate can stimulate the endothelium in arteries to produce nitric oxide. This special gas send signals to the arteries to relax, lowering blood pressure (even if the effects are mild).
Good cholesterol—in controlled studies, cocoa powder lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL (good cholesterol.
source: Philippine Daily Inquirer