5 fast and easy healthy snacks
It’s important to keep your body fueled throughout the course of the day and often, main meals are far too heavy for the fix that we're after. Fortunately, today, healthy foods are both affordable and accessible, so there’s really no excuse to reach for those ultra-processed, additive laden crisps and cookies.
The list below features five guilt-free yet truly delicious snacks which are sure to leave you feeling satisfied and energized.
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Supremely easy to access, nuts are pretty much guaranteed to be found in every supermarket out there. Though it’s true that they are high in fat, it’s largely the good type of fat - monounsaturated. They also contain a number of health beneficial vitamins and nutrients, the most notable of which are magnesium and vitamin E.
Research shows that consuming nuts can keep one’s blood sugar levels at bay, and also reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure.
However, there are many different types of nuts, and some are much healthier than others. Generally, almonds are regarded as the healthiest nuts around. Their nutrient levels trump that of other nuts and they are known to be beneficial for heart health. Almonds are joined by walnuts and cashews, which research shows to be tremendously nutrient dense.
Nonetheless, to truly reap their health benefits, it’s fundamental to reach for the nuts that are not salted nor sweetened. The common addition of salt and at times, sugar, significantly diminishes the health benefits of what would otherwise be a perfectly healthy snack. Instead, for a wholesome sugar fix, nuts can be teamed up with fresh fruit.
Additionally, their high fat content means that nuts are also high in calories. Hence, to avoid weight gain, it is suggested to limit one’s daily nut intake to approximately 30 grams.
Whilst we rarely associate chocolate with being a healthy snack, dark chocolate is a nutrient rich game changer. Not only is it proven to be favourable for the heart, research also indicates that it may have a positive impact on brain health too.
Rife with minerals and antioxidants, dark chocolate can even help to reduce the risk of developing diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s.
To ensure optimal health benefits, nutritionists suggest opting for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of over 70% and of course, as little sugar as possible. Moreover, as with nuts, it's high calorie and high fat nature mean that it’s imperative to consume it in moderation.
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As long as it’s not the cinema or microwaveable type, popcorn makes for a delicious quick snack. Popcorn is a whole grain and contains a bunch of antioxidants. In turn, it evokes a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Plus, it’s high fibre content deems it a considerably satisfying snack which can positively support weight management efforts.
Provided that popcorn is prepared in a healthy way, the above benefits stand true. The healthiest possible method of cooking it is to air-pop it and subsequently avoid topping it with high amounts of butter, salt or sugar.
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Perfect for satisfying that relentless sweet tooth, dates make an excellent low-fat, cholesterol free snack. Although their natural sugar content is high, their glycemic index is low so fortunately, their consumption doesn’t result in blood sugar spikes.
Dates are loaded with an extensive range of essential nutrients, and contain both high fibre and potassium. They have the power to lower one’s cholesterol, improve brain health, and enhance digestion. They even have anti-aging properties and promote healthier skin.
As if the plethora of health benefits wasn't sufficient reason enough to purchase a packet, dates are also an incredibly versatile food. Whilst they are perfect when enjoyed on their own, they can be chopped into a salad, filled with nuts or nut butter, and even used to naturally sweeten smoothies!
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Requiring just a bowl, chia seeds, and a milk of choice, making chia pudding is a quick and easy process. Simply whisk the chia seeds and milk together and once combined, allow the mix to set in the fridge for upwards of five hours. It really couldn’t be more simple.
Whilst it’s perfect as it is, chia pudding can be topped with pretty much anything from nut butters to fruit to further enhance its nutritional value.
It’s clear that there’s no need to snack unhealthily when there exists such an abundance of easily accessible food that actively works to improve our health. The above listed snacks are all convenient, tasty and healthy; ideal for a midmorning or afternoon munch.