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4 Healthy Versions of Your Favourite Snacks For Guilt-Free Snacking!

When you look for healthy snacks online, you are quite likely to find foods that aren’t really snacks. Let’s be real, a lettuce burger isn’t something you are going to be snacking on. So here are some actual snacks that you can gobble up without feeling too guilty about it.

1. Healthy Ice Cream

Ice cream tends to be very high in calories, particularly from saturated fats and sugars1. For a long time, people could only turn to fruit sorbets as a suitable diet alternative.

However, there’s been a new trend on the market – low calorie, protein-rich ice creams, that cater both to omnivores and plant-based diets. 

healthy ice cream snack
A comparison of regular ice cream vs healthy ice cream

Stash a tub of this healthy ice cream in your fridge for when the sugar cravings hit.

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2. Popcorn

Popcorn’s reputation as a snack food is improving! Here’s why.

  • It contains more polyphenols (an antioxidant) than fruits and vegetables!
    • The reason is fairly simple. These polyphenols are more concentrated in popcorn – which has only about 4 percent water. Whereas they are diluted in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables.
  • It’s the only 100% unprocessed whole grain snack.
  • The hull of popcorn – the part that everyone hates for its tendency to get caught in the teeth – has the highest concentration of polyphenols and dietary fibre2.

These properties apply only to unprocessed popcorn. Frying it in high amounts of fat or adding a thick sugar coating, vastly increases its calorific content and diminishes its health benefits3

3. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is not the most popular chocolate as it tends to be bitter, harder, and less sweet than its milky alternatives.

Most likely, it’s also not your first choice when thinking of healthy snacks. However, the last decade saw an explosion in the available evidence for its remarkable health benefits and now is definitely the right time to revisit our beliefs about this snack.

But what makes it so special?  

  • Dark chocolate tends to have fewer calories and a way higher percentage of cocoa powder than its regular counterpart.
    • Cocoa contains many biologically active components, such as catechins, procyanidins and theobromine. All of these can affect our metabolism and cardiovascular system by activating multiple antioxidative and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
    • Regular consumption of dark chocolate can improve our blood pressure, insulin resistance and blood glucose metabolism. 4, 5
    • Additionally, dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids and dietary minerals that can be highly beneficial to our bone health. That’s why many pre-menopausal women are advised to snack on dark chocolate from time to time5.

Look out for at least 60% of cocoa powder in your chocolate and you’ll reap some of these amazing benefits!

4. Beetroot Crisps

beetroot crisps healthy snack
You can get these amazing veggie crackers at Waitrose or Amazon.

Frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality6

But what about vegetable crisps? Potato crisps are definitely not considered healthy, more often than not they have too much fat and salt. However, if we swap potatoes for beetroots and tweak the processing to reduce its fat content, we have a rather healthy snack! 

In recent years, the beetroot, and especially its active compounds – betalains and nitrates – have received increasing attention for their remarkable biological activity.

  • They have been proven to prevent DNA damage and significantly reduce cholesterol levels, as well as exert anticancer activity, lower blood glucose and alleviate high blood pressure.
  • Moreover, regular beetroot consumption could enhance athletic performance and help with muscle soreness in certain types of exercise7.

And if you can’t find any beetroot crisps in your local shop, you can easily make them yourself. Try it out! 

Get similar recommendations suited to your personal lifestyle and health goals

Every one of us is unique. We have unique lifestyles and dietary preferences. We also have our own health goals. Our health platform is designed to encourage and work with that uniqueness. After a blood test, you get health scores across seven health areas (sleep, immunity, cognition etc.).

health-scores
Get your health scores across seven health areas

Based on your health scores, your lifestyle questionnaire, and your health goals, you get a completely personalised action plan. The action plan has a list of actions and health hacks (like the list above) that you can take to reach your health goals. At your own pace. Here’s what a sample action item looks like.

Personalised action list
You can see an interactive action plan and report here.

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References

References

  1. Eccles, R., Du-Plessis, L., Dommels, Y., & Wilkinson, J. E. (2013). Cold pleasure. Why we like ice drinks, ice-lollies and ice cream. Appetite, 71, 357–360.
  2. American Chemical Society (ACS). (2012, March 25). Popcorn: The snack with even higher antioxidants levels than fruits and vegetables. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 3, 2022
  3. Coco, M. G., Jr, & Vinson, J. A. (2019). Analysis of Popcorn (Zea mays L. var. everta) for Antioxidant Capacity and Total Phenolic Content. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 8(1), 22. 
  4. Shah, S. R., Alweis, R., Najim, N. I., Dharani, A. M., Jangda, M. A., Shahid, M., Kazi, A. N., & Shah, S. A. (2017). Use of dark chocolate for diabetic patients: a review of the literature and current evidence. Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives, 7(4), 218–221. 
  5. Seem, S. A., Yuan, Y. V., & Tou, J. C. (2019). Chocolate and chocolate constituents influence bone health and osteoporosis risk. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 65, 74–84. 
  6. Aune, D., Giovannucci, E., Boffetta, P., Fadnes, L. T., Keum, N., Norat, T., Greenwood, D. C., Riboli, E., Vatten, L. J., & Tonstad, S. (2017). Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality-a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(3), 1029–1056.
  7. Chen, L., Zhu, Y., Hu, Z., Wu, S., & Jin, C. (2021). Beetroot as a functional food with huge health benefits: Antioxidant, antitumor, physical function, and chronic metabolomics activity. Food Science & Nutrition, 9(11), 6406–6420.
healthy snacks

Written by Anna Gora

I am a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and health coach with nearly 10 years of professional experience. I hold a Master’s degree in Nutrition, Physical Activity & Public Health from the University of Bristol. I am passionate about empowering people to live a healthy lifestyle and promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet.

07/03/2022

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