Natural Health Tips

Healthy Snack Ideas

When you're feeling peckish, do you reach for the nearest bag of crisps or chocolate bar? Why not grab a snack that is going to make you feel good, as well as boost your energy levels and also be beneficial for your health.

Here are some healthy snack ideas:

nuts

Nuts are packed full of protein and fiber, and are a rich source of vitamins E, B6 and folic acid. They are also high in healthy polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3), but this means they are high in calories, so eat in moderation.

  • Pick non-salted varieties of nuts
  • Nuts with lower fat levels are pistachios, cashews and almonds
  • Almonds are the richest in calcium, which helps keep your bones strong
  • Store nuts in an airtight container away from light and heat

Low GI Foods

The glycaemic effect of foods looks at how they affect our blood sugar.

The best foods are the ones low in the glycaemic index (GI). This is because they provide a slow release energy into our bloodstream rather than a quick sugar rush that soon dips, leaving us feeling hungry again. This is beneficial for long-term health and can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as helping to maintain weight loss.

Good low GI snack choices include:

  • dried fruit and seeds
  • fresh fruits
  • oatcakes or rye crackers
  • wholegrain bread

Raw fruit and vegetables

Choose fruit as a healthy and satisfying snack.

  • Variety is the key, so choose a range of colored fruits throughout the week to get the best mix of protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

  • Raw vegetables make tasty, filling snacks. Try cutting them into sticks and dipping them in hummus.

Dark chocolate (in moderation)

Lots of studies have indicated that the flavonoids found in dark chocolate are powerful antioxidants. Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than any other food, but processing of cocoa can remove many of these benefits.

Snacks to Avoid

  • Cakes, pastries and buns: delicious, but high in calories, fats and sugars, and many store-bought cakes contain trans fats, which can damage heart health, as well as artificial flavorings, preservatives and dyes.

  • Sugary breakfast cereals: some cereals are loaded with added sugar. Opt for healthier versions like porridge or muesli with fruit.

  • Fizzy drinks: A single can of fizzy drink can contain as much as six teaspoons of added sugar - 'empty' calories that offer very little nutritional value. Even diet versions contain artificial sweeteners like the carcinogic aspartame, so these should be avoided.