The way we look, feel, think and act are all connected to the type of foods we eat; food is a fuel for the body.
Naturally, high-quality fuel will promote good health and happiness. Low-quality fuel, on the other hand, will do just the opposite.
Though conventional wisdom holds that we nourish our body via the standard three meals a day lifestyle, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition indicated that the majority of us rely on snacking to meet 24% (!) of our daily calorie intake. The reality of a constantly connected, forever-on-the-go world we live in is ideally suited to snacking. It’s therefore infinitely important that we make healthy snacking decisions.
Snacking is great, especially when it’s healthy as it contributes to:
- Curbing food cravings
- Preventing overeating
- Keeping blood sugar levels steady; maintaining energy levels
- Regulating mood
- Boosting brain power and concentration levels
- Meeting our nutrient needs
Now that we’re in agreement on the benefits of healthy snacking, how do we identify the most high-quality, healthful offerings?
Snacks that promote good health will feature unprocessed ingredients of superior quality while also boasting a well-balanced nutrient profile. Organic ingredients are always a plus. By selecting these type of snacks you’re providing your body with the good fuel it needs in our crazy busy lives.
Many healthily labelled snacks on the market are in fact far from being so as they are highly processed and loaded with sugar and chemicals: hence read the label hidden at the back of the package, not the slogan at the front! It’s important to always check the ingredients to ensure they are what you expect them to be: wholesome, additive-free and preferably organic. Ingredients are always listed in descending order, with the highest quantity/most present one listed first. It’s often surprising to learn those items largely considered “healthy” actually contain large amounts of refined sugars (such as processed honey and agave). Similarly, the presence of large amounts of dried fruits should be treated with a watchful eye as fruits can create sugar level imbalances which can affect moods, drowsiness, concentration lapses or – worse – create cravings for yet more snacks. After all, fruit sugars are still sugars, although naturally occurring.
Remember, it is sugars, not fats that are believed to have significantly contributed to high obesity rates globally. For decades we were advised to strictly limit fat consumption, however the latest research proves no-fat diets to be a poor choice. A new study published in the online journal Open Heart, for example, delved into the lack of solid scientific evidence surrounding dietary advice on fat consumption. The overarching message of the article is that our pre-occupation with restricting fats has regretfully limited our attention to risks posed by other nutrients, such as sugars. Bottom line: don’t be shy when it comes to consuming fats! Fats are essential to optimal health and make for a great fuel.
As part of an active lifestyle, try to have healthy snacks at hand should the need arise – so always keep some space in your handbag for a fruit, some nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, spirulina ball, etc. If you’re caught off guard you just may end up resorting to bad snacks because they are lurking everywhere and typically are the easiest to get a hold of. Be prepared = snack smart!
Here is Karianne’s idea of a healthy and exciting snack to keep you going on a long afternoon (image above):
Coconut and nuts are the star ingredients of these dairy-free and gluten-free snacks which are full of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, proteins and heart-healthy fats that contribute to positive blood sugar levels and sustained energy.
One of our favourite flavours, the Primal Balls harness the energy-producing nutrients and protein of peanut butter and chia seeds to keep you energized all day long.
Ingredients: Almonds, Desiccated Coconut, Coconut Oil, Cashew Nuts, Roasted Peanuts, Dates, Raw Cacao Nibs, Raw Cacao Powder, Golden Linseeds, Chia Seeds and Cinnamon
This is article is by Karianne from Your Fit World – sharing some tips on healthy snacking with you. Enjoy the read – whilst (something tells me) grazing some healthy crunchy nibbles. For more info visit: yourfitworld.com/coco-nuts-balls