I try to eat a healthy diet, because I believe it is essential for overall good health. However, my biggest challenge seems to be snacking healthy. I've done a little research and come up with some power snacks that are both delicious and good for you. They are proven disease fighters, energy boosters and heart helpers.
1. Fruits and Veggies – Snack on blueberries, apples, grapes, peppers, and spinach, and you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Additionally, the potassium, magnesium, and calcium in most fresh produce will help lower your blood pressure.
Try spreading a little all natural peanut butter on apple slices for a yummy snack!
2. Nuts - Did you know that snacking on nuts may help you shed pounds? Researchers found that people who ate almonds as part of a low-calorie diet for six months lost 18 percent of their body weight, slimming their waistlines and reducing body fat, as well. Scientists suspect this because the fiber-plus-protein combo helps keeps hunger in check. Additionally, monounsaturated fats found in some nuts have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while preserving HDL (good) cholesterol that your body needs.
3. Whole Grains – Whole grains are natural energy boosters. You need at least 130 grams a day to feel the effects. Including five servings of whole grains daily in your low-calorie diet can help you lose belly flab and lower your levels of C-reactive protein, a predictor of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Add two more servings and you could lower your risk of diabetes by more than 20%.
Try a couple of Wasa Crisp crackers spread with garlic and chive hummus, then topped with a couple of spinach leaves and a slice of fresh tomato.
4. Low-Fat Dairy - Just 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day can help you maintain bone mass when trying to lose weight. Additionally, including low-fat yogurt in a low-calorie diet can help you shed belly fat.
I love making fruit parfaits with low-fat vanilla yogurt with fresh blueberries, sliced strawberries and Kashi Go-Lean cereal.
5. Dark Chocolate – Who knew dark chocolate could actually be good for you? Both regular and sugar-free dark chocolate decrease blood pressure in overweight adults, according to the research I've read. In addition, consuming just a small amount of flavanol-rich cocoa powder daily can increase blood flow to your skin, making it softer, smoother, and more resistant to sun damage.
Buy organic dark chocolate, melt it in a double boiler (or two nested saucepans, filling the bottom one with water and placing the chocolate in the top one). Once the chocolate has melted, dip some fresh strawberries in it. Yum!
Of course, it’s important to snack in moderation.
Snack happy and healthy!
Thanks to Jen of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam for hosting Tasty Tuesday, Lisa of Blessed with Grace for hosting Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, and Cole of All the Small Stuff for hosting Tuesdays at the Table. Be sure to visit their blogs for links to some tasty recipes!