When you’re trying to stay slim but craving a snack, it can be hard knowing what to reach for. Highly processed treats and white carbs are obviously out. Ditto fatty, low-nutrition foods. But that doesn’t mean you have to bore your tastebuds with celery sticks!
Some foods have a bad reputation they don’t really deserve. So, to make snack time more fun, we’ve found seven tasty foods that are surprisingly healthy. Enjoy!
This heavenly spread is high in calories, but you don’t need to banish it from your life. It’s also high in fats, but these are heart-friendly and believed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Peanut butter contains protein, fiber and nutrients, and leaves you satisfied. Eat in moderation, and choose a natural brand with less additives.
As well as providing a short term energy boost, coffee is packed with antioxidants. It can aid recovery after a workout, and has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes. A 20-year study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School also found that women who consume three or more cups of coffee daily have a reduced risk chance of developing skin cancer. Just avoid adding calorific syrups and sugars to your cuppa. And keep pm caffeine drinking to a minimum for a good night’s sleep.
This cinema snack is great because it feels naughty, but is actually kind of saintly. Although you’re far better to make it at home, where you can limit the butter and salt! Popcorn is low in calories and packed with powerful antioxidants. To keep it healthy, air pop your corn at home and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt or cinnamon.
Dried fruit gets a bit of a bad rap, due to the high sugar content. A handful of raisins is a-ok, though. These dried grapes usually have no added sugar, and they’re rich in B vitamins and minerals. Raisins are a yummy source of energy when you’re craving something a little bit sweet. Just remember each raisin is a shrunken, dehydrated grape, so don’t go too crazy with the portion size.
In more excellent news for your sweet tooth, you can have your chocolate and eat it too. Just make it the dark (70% cocoa or more) variety. Packed full of antioxidants and minerals, dark chocolate has been linked to a host of health benefits. Studies point to a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as improved brain function. Cocoa’s been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which may prevent type 2 diabetes.
It can even help shrink your waistline. Yes, really! A study from the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate consumption dampens your cravings for salty, fatty and sweet foods. And our new favourite neuroscientist, Will Clower, even recommends eating chocolate to lose weight. Clover says a square of high grade chocolate 20 minutes before a meal tricks you into feeling full, so you consume less of your meal. Genius.
(Chocoholic? Check out our story on healthy ways to eat chocolate.)
If you’re looking for a healthy alcoholic drink, look no further than red wine. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. It may also help prevent more run-of-the-mill ailments, according to the findings of a 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. In the study of 4000 individuals, those who drank more than 14 glasses of vino each week for a year were 40% less likely to suffer from a cold. (However, it should be noted that this is higher than the two standard drinks per day recommended by health experts).
Extremely high in nutrition, eggs are a wonderful source of protein and fat. Don’t avoid the yolk, though, as it holds most of the vitamins and minerals. And while the golden centre is rich in fat, it’s mainly the healthy kind. Eggs have even been shown to aid in weight loss, making them the perfect way to start the day.
What’s your favourite healthy snack? Tell us in the comments below.
For more food articles, check out 5 of the best post-workout snacks!