A List of Healthy Snacks (& why they are)
TUNA & PEPPER SLICES
Tuna is a primary protein and a great source of the antioxidant known as selenium, which has been linked to a multitude of health benefits. Bell peppers are full of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, both of which are great for your skin and immune function. Try just half a bell pepper, cut into two halves with a tea spoon of tuna in each.
WALNUTS, ALMONDS, OR PEANUTS
Nuts are full of protein and healthy unsaturated fats that are especially good for your brain & nerve activity. They contain Zinc for wound healing and the immune system, Choline which plays a role in metabolizing and transporting fats, and Chromium which enhances the activity of insulin (blood sugar control hormone). Walnuts contain Selenium which acts an anti-oxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Selenium also regulates the thyroid hormone activity. Just be careful to choose unsalted plain variety. Limit your intake to a palm covering size.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND APPLE
Cottage cheese contains with a milk protein called casein, because we digest it slowly it provides your muscles with a steady supply of amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Cottage cheese is lower in fat than other cheeses. This is a great snack to have anytime of the day, but especially before going to bed. Apples are packed with fiber to help keep you full and your digestive system functioning well. One apple and a table spoon of cottage cheese is a good amount.
PLAIN GREEK YOGURT AND BERRIES
Milk products like yoghurt contains the perfect combination of calcium essential for muscle contraction & the Vitamin D that helps calcium absorption by the body. Greek yogurt is made by straining way excess liquid and leaving behind thicker parts of the yogurt that is full of gut healthy probiotic bacteria needed for optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. Topping your yogurt with berries adds antioxidants that fight off oxidative stress caused by free radicals. 3 table spoons of yoghurt to 1 of berries will do the trick.
TOMATO WITH OLIVE OIL AND SPRINKLING OF FETA
The glossy red fruits (which actually come in all kinds of colours, including yellow and deep purple) are packed full of vitamins – including vitamins A, C and E. They also contain flavonoids (natural anti-inflammatories), potassium and other mineral salts. Tomatoes contain a high volume of water, and they're refreshing in salads on hot days. They're low in calories too, with around 14 kilocalories per 100g – approximately one and a half classic tomatoes, or five to six cherry tomatoes.
Feta cheese contains about 33 percent fewer calories than most cheeses, but has a much stronger flavor than many other low-calorie cheeses. A single ounce of feta cheese contains nearly 140 mg. of calcium, making it one of the best dietary sources of calcium, essential to the development and health of bones and tooth enamel. Studies indicate that five servings of cheese in general per day can aid in the loss of abdominal fat and that a high calcium diet may contribute to the breakdown of fat cells. In addition, feta cheese specifically is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid and antioxidant that may aid in abdominal fat loss. The resultant loss of body fat lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
A teaspoon of olive oil & of crumbled feta is sufficient.
Edamame is a young soya bean. It is naturally gluten-free and low calorie, it contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. It is an especially important source of protein for those who follow a plant-based diet. This is because it is a complete protein, i.e. it has all the essential amino-acids. It is high in healthy polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. Omega 3 is a “good fat” which cannot be produced in the body and is essential to normal growth and development.
A one-cup serving of edamame provides 10% of calcium needs, 16% of vitamin C, 20% of iron, 52% of vitamin K and 121% of your daily needs for folate. Edamame also contains vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, pantothenic acid, choline, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. Increasing consumption of plant foods like edamame decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.
HARD BOILED EGG & BROWN PITA BREAD
Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein & vitamin B12 and Biotin. B12 protects nerve cells & helps make red blood cells. Biotin helps convert food into energy & breakdown of some fatty acids. The whole grains in half a brown pita bread provide Vitamin B2 to help convert food into energy, and is essential for healthy skin, hair, blood & brain.
BANANA AND CHEESE
Bananas contain a larger amount of sugar than other fruits, but by pairing them with healthy fat and protein, the transfer of that sugar to the blood stream is slowed down. Bananas contain Vitamin B6 to help production of a neurotransmitter which plays a key role in sleep, appetite & mood. V6 also may lower heart disease & influences cognitive abilities and immune function. This snack is great to have pre or post workout, not least because the potassium in the banana may prevent cramp. One small banana and a finger of cheese will do it!
HUMMUS AND CARROTS
The chick peas in hummus contain Folic Acid which may reduce the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and offset breast cancer risk in women who consume alcohol. Carrots provide Vitamin A for your vision & healthier skin. Diets high in carotenoids seem to lower lung cancer risk. One large carrot or 2 smaller ones with a tablespoon of humous is perfect.
CELERY AND PEANUT BUTTER OR SOFT CHEESE
Not only is celery a crunch, low calorie vegetable, but it also possesses anti-inflammatory health benefits, especially in the gut. Peanut butter contains fiber for healthy bowels, magnesium for your bones and muscles, Vitamin E, and antioxidants. Diets rich in Vitamin E may prevent Alzheimer’s disease & protect against prostate cancer. One celery stick with a thin spread of either peanut butter or cream cheese will see you through.
DRIED CRANBERRIES AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS
The possible health benefits of consuming cranberries include lowered risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, decreased blood pressure. Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and vitamin E. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant capable of blocking some of the damage caused by free radicals, as well as boosting the body's resistance against infectious agents. Sailors once carried cranberries aboard their ships to avoid scurvy because of their high vitamin C content. Sunflower seeds are an exceptional source of vitamin E, which plays a very important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps keep free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol. Only when oxidized is cholesterol able to stick to blood vessel walls and cause atherosclerosis, which can lead to blocked arteries, heart attack, or stroke. You can get over ninety percent of the daily value for vitamin E in only a quarter of a cup of sunflower seeds.
In addition the Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with arthritic symptoms. The selenium in them may reduce the risk of bladder, colon &, prostate cancer. The magnesium in them is good for the nerves. By preventing calcium from rushing into nerve cells and activating them, magnesium keeps our nerves relaxed and thereby our blood vessels and muscles too. Too little magnesium means too much calcium can gain entrance to the nerve cell, causing it to send too many messages, and leading to too much contraction.