9.12.2013

Good Life Series: Healthy Snack Ideas!

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor! These are just some things I've picked up after watching tons of health videos, reading vegan/rawfood blogs, and growing up with a Diabetic father and health-obsessed mother!

1. Medjool Dates
My Iranian friends would probably call me F.O.B for picking this as my first healthy snack idea, but Medjool Dates are seriously one of the most underrated fruits. First off, they give you energy fast!. Since they are packed with nutrients like iron and potassium while containing simple sugars, they are like an instant boost of energy without spiking your sugar levels. Also, they have Vitamin A, which is great for the skin and fiber which regulates the digestive system. Traditionally, they are eaten along with tea in Iranian culture, but no-one says you can't throw them in a ziploc to work.
You can read more here, if you're still not convinced. 

2.  Pumpkin Seeds (unsalted, not toasted)
These are great to snack on because they are rich in many hard-to-get vitamins and minerals like Zinc, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E. 100 g. of them also pack in 30 g. of protein. Read this for more info!

3. Wasa Crackers
I've recently been reducing my bread intake and instead eating Wasa crackers instead. These are so filling and guilt-free because of the so little amount of ingredients in them. I just hate it when the list of ingredients are longer than a Bar Exam textbook. Also, a lot of the time I feel as though the commercial breads taste like sawdust and don't really satisfy my hunger or cravings. Personally, I like to pair the wasa crackers with some feta and a bit of honey or some organic peanut butter and fruit. 

4. Dried Mangoes (un-sulfurized and no added sugar)
These are so addictive and delicious that it can be kind of dangerous actually. I do advocate more for actual fruit, but when it comes to packing things on-the-go in a small amount of time or if you want a fruit-snack fix, dried mangoes are perfect. These can be found in any health-food store (Whole Foods, Trader Joe's) or even in bulk on Amazon. Just don't eat too many at a time, because dried-fruits can sometimes give stomach-aches.

5. Low-Fat Feta Cheese
In addition to limiting my bread intake, I've also taken the challenge of stopping eating cheese. This can go into an entirely different story but my reasons have to do with much of the processed cheeses that are on the market these days. Instead, I only have Feta. So, I found a pretty low-fat option from the brand Tnuva (1.5 g per cubic inch) and I often use it to make home-made low-fat pizzas, omelets, and even to just melt over grilled portobello mushrooms. Just one tip: soak this cheese in water for a day or two because the brine it comes in is very very sodium-rich. 

6. Avocados
These are very very versatile. I know some people who could just eat a whole avocado plain, but I personally like to top it with salt and cayenne pepper on a wasa cracker for a snack or even sriracha if I'm making guacamole. Also, it is very tasty alongside an omelette or egg whites with basil. The benefits? They are anti-inflammatory, amazing for the heart (hence the amount of good fats in them), and full of fiber to keep you full (which is perfect for a bread-free breakfast.) Also, many of you will enjoy this benefit: it's great for your skin!

7. Strawberries
I was actually surprised to find out that strawberries have almost twice as much Vitamin C as oranges. I always thought that having oranges would be the best way to combat a cold, but little did I know that strawberries are even more potent (and easier to eat.) They go great alone or even inside some organic greek yogurt.
  
8. Organic Peanut Butter
Probably one of my favorite things to have for breakfast with some wasa crackers and honey. It may seem like not much, but the peanut butter is so rich in protein that it keeps you full like an omelette. They're also really tasty to snack on if you love apples/celery and peanut butter or one of those people who like eating it straight from the jar with a spoon (just be a little wary of the fat content.) If you're trying to find a good organic kind, skip the Skippy (I beg of you), and try Trader Joes' Unblanched, Unsalted kind that comes in both chunky and smooth (btw-I'm a chunky).  

9. Lemon Water
I used to HATE drinking water because it felt like a chore. Now, I never was one to drink soda at all (I just always hated the fizz). But, I never really got the right amount of water into my system because I would either forget or just get bored of the taste. So, I started flavoring my water with lemon slices (sometimes even mint leaves, or lime) and I find it to be much easier to drink and better. The lemon not just gives it a great taste but also alkalizes your body and helps lose weight! Drink that first thing in the morning and your body will wake up and your organs will be activated!

10. Dark Chocolate 
Whenever I'm craving something decadent like chocolate cake, dark chocolate squares are my fix. I usually go for something around 75% Cacao because anything more than that can get a little bitter. I always have a square that I take on-the-go whenever I'm super low energy and I always find that it boosts my mood. Also, there are antioxidants and blood-sugar controlling properties in dark chocolates. Just look for the organic and strong kind (70% or more), because Hershey's isn't exactly give you any benefits. Also, just know that the more bitter your chocolate is, the more benefits it will have.


Enjoy!

-Shay

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