Top 3 Healthy Snack Alternatives that Fuel Your Day
Snacks have a big market share in the retail supermarket industry. A 2014 article by the Huffington Post gives insight that Americans actually consume more snacks than actual food meals. It is a $2 billion dollar revenue in Australia, according to IBISworld. The US Library of National Medicine reveals (from a study of 8 countries) that the level of snack food displays (including soft drinks and colas) within supermarkets are high. This means that exposure to snack foods is unavoidable and the likelihood of purchases, especially impulsive buys, is high.
In contrast to the prevalent idea that snacks are your quick, instant, and easy-carry food options; snacks are small portions of food meant to sustain you between meals. The key word is “sustain” and by that very statement, snacks should essentially bear the trait of being healthy to begin with. But due to an abundance of artificial and low quality snacks, the term “healthy snacking” had to be born and categorized.
So what does this all mean to you? A question to draw that out is, “How much healthy snacking are you practicing at home, at work, or wherever you have your snack?” Better yet, “How much healthy snack alternatives are you purchasing?” Because the key to healthy snacking at home (and wherever you are) is to have a ready access to a healthy snack supply to begin with.
For starters, here are top 3 healthy snack alternatives you should have in your fridge and pantry. These satisfy you longer, keeping you less hungry between meals and more focused on your activity not on having more food.
Now, there are those who overreact about the high sugar content of banana, ruling bananas as bad for your health. With the American Health Association recommending people to cut back on sugar, many people are now eager to cut out bananas and other sweet fruits from their diet. But as LiveStrong so eloquently puts it, the recommendation is to cut back on added sugars; those refined sugars that are bad for you. Unless you eat loads of fruits on a daily basis, and nothing else, then naturally occurring sugars in fruits are not all that bad. Remember that sugar essentially is a needed component because it creates energy which fuels the body for activity and functioning.
What makes banana a healthy snack alternative?
Try and see how 1 banana can last you for hours. They’re good to munch on when you’re in the middle of a very important work or task. One medium ripe banana has 1 gram of protein, 28 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams fibre, and 459 mg. of potassium. According to Harvard Health, the naturally occurring sugar in bananas are low GI. These are slowly absorbed by the body and if consumed as directed by a qualified nutritionist, are safe for diabetics to eat.
The high potassium content:
- balances your blood pressure
- facilitates healthy nerve functioning
- normalizes water in cells and helps flush out excess salt from the body by urination
The high fibre content:
- nurtures a healthy heart
- helps treat diarrhea
- promotes gut healing
Suggested Banana Snacks
a. Plain Fruit.
- Just peel and eat.
b. Boiled Green Bananas (Jamaican).
- Wash each piece. Boil water in a pan. Lower heat to a steady, simmering boil and drop the bananas in. Boil till fork tender (about 20 minutes). Remove. Peel. Serve by cuts, chunks, or whole.
c. Banana Smoothie
Blend (momentarily) the following in a small food processor or mini blender:
- 1 banana
- about 7 ice cubes
- some milk if you like,
- optional prunes, dates, or figs for sweetening if you like
Eggs are tremendously satisfying. Many find it to be a healthy and effective weight loss agent. One medium egg has about 60 calories, 25 mg. calcium, 6 grams of protein (most of which are found in the egg white), and 61 mg potassium. This high protein content can sustain your energy needs for many hours. Now, there are those who complain about the high cholesterol content of eggs. The Heart Foundation clarifies that eggs have minimal effects on your blood cholesterol because the saturated and trans fat are the unhealthy type cholesterol that greatly affect your health.
The US National Institutes of Health shares that the inexpensive yet highly nutirious egg supplies 18 vitamins and minerals, some of which are selenium, choline, lecithin, zinc, tocopherols, and retinol. It benefits people of all ages in numerous ways:
- an inexpensive source of antioxidants that protect against degenerative processes
- helps treat and prevent chronic and infectious diseases
- fosters normal brain development
- beneficial dietary support for those with gout as it is low in purine
- beneficial dietary support for people in sports as it may enhance skeletal muscle synthesis
Suggested Egg Snacks
Cut back on oil and salt by preferring boiled or poached eggs.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious. One cup of baked sweet potato provides:
- 214% DV of Vitamin A
- 52% DV of Vitamin C
- 43% DV of Managenese
- 34%-36% DV of Copper, Pantothenic Acid, and Vitamin B6
The health benefits you get from eating sweet potatoes are:
- a slow, steady burn of high energy
- antioxidant properties
- anti-inflammatory properties
- high Vitamin A content facilitates normal vision and immunity
- high Manganese content facilitates bone formation, carbohydrate metabolism, and blood sugar regulation
- high Vitamin B6 content fosters proper brain development and functioning, and mood regulation
Suggested Sweet Potato Snack Recipes
1. Baked Sweet Potato
- Bake a whole sweet potato, skin on, at 200 degrees C and for around 20 minutes. Rub with little oil, salt, and herbs if desired.
2. Boiled Sweet Potato
- Boil one whole sweet potato, skin on, in steady, simmering water for around 15 minutes. Shake some salt and pepper in the water if desired.
3. Baked Sweet Potato Chips or Fries
- Thinly slice sweet potatoes (with skin on). You may use a knife, peeler, or mandolin. You can rub the slices with some cornstarch for added crispiness. Drizzle minimal oil and lightly coat all pieces with it. Sprinkle little salt, pepper, and spices if desired. Line baking tray with parchment. Lay chips as well-spaced as you can. Bake in 200 to 215 degrees C for around 20 minutes.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Ana Menez