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Friday, May 13, 2011

Top 10 Healthy Snacks

A snack is a small portion of food, as contrasted with a regular meal. Traditionally snacks were prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home, often leftovers, sandwiches made from cold cuts, nuts, fruit etc. Beverages are not considered real snacks, especially coffee. The only instance in which a beverage constitutes a snack is if it possesses a substantive food item and then blended to create a juice or a shakes e.g., strawberries, bananas, kiwis. With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods are now a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick and satisfying. Processed snack foods are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more appealing than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavours such as flavoured potato chips. Now, all the snacks we eat are not healthy. Definitely the ones we prepare in our home are healthy but not the packed ones. Here is a list of top ten healthy Snacks for you.

1. Almonds and Apricots:
Almonds are high in protein and fibre, as well as being low-GI is a good source of magnesium, and rich in vitamin E. Dried apricots, on the other hand, are rich in carotenes, which may lower the risk of cancers of the throat and lungs and provide you with potassium, iron, calcium, silicon, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Interestingly, dried apricots have a far greater nutritional value than fresh ones because the nutrient content is so concentrated. Gram for gram, dried apricots have twelve times the iron, seven times the fibre and five times the vitamin A of fresh ones. The best way to eat this snack is to impale the almonds in the apricots.

2. Yogurt and Honey:
Yogurt is low in fat, high in calcium and good for your gut. A recent study also found that people who got their calcium from yogurt rather than other dairy sources lost more weight around the tummy area. Honey has been shown to increase the blood’s level of protective antioxidants, and may also be a useful diet addition for people with high cholesterol.

3. Apples and Pears:
Apples are high in pectin, a soluble fibre; contain quercetin — an antioxidant that can reduce damage caused by cholesterol. They have a high water content, which will help to keep your thirst satiated. Apples are also a good source of vitamin C. Pears are high in potassium and are also a good source of fibre and vitamin C.

4. Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolates containing at least 70 per cent cocoa solids are a good source of antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which are the type that are found in green tea and red wine. And while chocolate is high in fat, it consists of saturated fats including stearic and palmitic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. A number of studies have found that chocolate’s main fat, stearic acid, has a neutral effect on cholesterol. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, and has twice the magnesium of and more iron than milk chocolate.

5. Peanut butter on Crisp breads:
This is the perfect combination of protein, fat, carbohydrate, and lots of fibre. While peanut butter is high in fat, it is mostly the unsaturated fats which are not harmful. Peanuts are a great source of the antioxidant vitamin E. Peanut butter is also rich in protein, so it is a good option especially for vegetarians and a good source of magnesium. Opt to spread the peanut butter on rye crisp breads which are low in salt, high in fibre and have a low GI.

6. Seeds and Raisins Mix:
Seeds are high in protein and a good source of phytosterols, a plant compounds which are believed to reduce cholesterol and enhance immune function. Sunflower seeds are the best source of phytosterols, as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacins, a substance that appears to help prevent prostate enlargement and are also a good source of zinc, magnesium, and manganese. The seeds when mixed with raisins will rise your iron consumption and potassium consumption levels.

7. Hard Boiled Eggs:
Eggs have always been a part of healthy diet. Eggs can be consumed as snacks. For a natural protein boost in the middle of your busy day, enjoy one or two hard-boiled eggs. One medium hard-boiled egg delivers a host of essential vitamins at just 81 calories.

8. Carrot :
Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamins. A single medium-size carrot has a potential to more than satisfy your vitamin A needs for an entire day. Just one contains 17,158 international units of A. Carrots are also rich in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and minerals.

9. Grapes and Cheese:
Cheeses are often viewed as a high fat content product, but it’s not all bad. Hard cheese such as cheddar is a great source of calcium and phosphorus, and is one of the few good sources of vitamins B6, which aids the process of serotoninsynethesis (a process that promotes good mood). Spread half a medium ripe avocado on a slice of wholemeal toast to get a tasty, wholesome, low GI snack containing a healthy dose of fibre. Grape has high potential uses which include its ability to treat constipation, indigestion, fatigue, kidney disorders, macular degeneration and prevention of cataract. Grapes, one of the most delicious fruits, are rich sources of vitamins A, C, B6 and folate in addition to essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium.

10. Protein Bars:
Energy in food comes from three main sources: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. A typical energy bar will supply about 200–300 Calories, 3–9 g of fat, 7–15 g of protein, and 20–40 g of carbohydrates. Dietary fibre is often added to energy bars to add bulk without calories and slow the absorption of glucose.

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