Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. You don’t have to snack on carrot sticks all day, every day. In fact, there are so many snacks out there that provide great nutritional benefits while satisfying your tastebuds. Below, we talk about some of the best nutritious snacks you can toss into your gym bag or take to the movies without feeling guilty.
Air-popped and lightly seasoned popcorn is actually quite a healthy snack. This is because it is a whole grain and a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Did you know that high-fibre whole grains have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and various health issues? Just make sure to avoid popcorn options that are coated with layers of sugar, additives, and artificial flavours and colouring.
Cheese is not only an excellent source of calcium necessary for strong bones and teeth, but it contains protein, vitamins, and minerals like zinc and phosphorus. Adding cheese to salads and “green” wraps can also make them taste better, so you’re more likely to make healthier meals and snacks. Just choose options that contain less salt and saturated fats.
A pack of dried seaweed can contain iodine and tyrosine which help support thyroid function. They are also a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as minerals and antioxidants. The high soluble fibre content helps regulate blood sugar levels and contributes to a healthier immune system and gut. It’s a great low-calorie way to pack on the nutrients.
4. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a great source of essential nutrients including protein, zinc, and iron. Their high protein content also makes them a great snack to help regulate blood sugar levels, keep you feeling satisfied for longer, and curb your appetite for “junk” food.
Whole grain bread is actually a rich source of nutrients including carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins, essential minerals. They also contain 3 types of fibre: soluble, insoluble and resistant starch. Opt for whole grains instead of refined grains to benefit from complex carbs in bread.
6. Pork Crackle
Pork crackles are actually a good source of B vitamins and essential minerals. Although they are high in fat, 2/3 of the fat are actually mono and polyunsaturated fats which are beneficial for heart health. The oleic acid found in pork crackle might also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce bodily inflammation. They are also high in protein and typically carb-free so you get longer-lasting energy with each bite.
7. Breakfast Cereal
If you’ve ever made yourself a bowl of cereal just to sit in front of the tv on a Saturday night, you’re not alone. And you don’t have to feel guilty about having breakfast for a snack. A lot of breakfast cereals are fortified with nutrients like iron and vitamin B that our modern diets often lack. Just choose options that have little to no added sugar, are fortified with nutrients, or made with mostly whole grains the next time you’re stocking up the pantry.
Choose to Snack Mindfully
A few pieces of cheese, dark chocolate, or cured meat can help you feel fuller for longer between meals, maintain your energy levels, and keep cravings for less healthy snack options at bay. But as it is with any processed foods, many snacks can contain a lot of sodium, sugar, colouring, or preservatives that your body just doesn’t need.
It is still best to consume snack food in moderation and alongside a balanced, varied diet made up of whole foods. So be mindful about what goes into your shopping cart the next time you take a peek into the chip and lolly aisles. Your body will thank you for choosing to snack better.