What is a Healthy Snack and What Makes a Snack Healthy!

Low-calorie, high-energy, and nutrient-dense foods make great snacking items. On the other hand, processed foods high in fat, refined sugars, and calories are classified as unhealthy. Although, the latter is commonly consumed by children and young adults. The presence of the following traits makes snacks healthier. So next time you’re confused about choosing between unsalted almonds and a pack of salted chips, you’ll be more aware of making the right choice. 

Nutrient-Dense Foods 

Snacking on foods like potato chips, cakes, and cookies is high in calories and essentially deprived of essential nutrients. They only add to your daily intake of carbohydrates and fats. To maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, you must increase the intake of healthy nutrients found in nutrition bars.

Thus, snacks rich in minerals and vitamins should be consumed more frequently. These include high-vitamin foods such as watermelon, citrus foods, strawberries, mangoes. High-mineral content is found in fruits such as bananas, apricots, strawberries, apples, watermelons, lychees, lemons, limes, berries, melons, oranges, grapes, grapefruits, pineapples, mangoes, peaches, pears. Hence, fruits are considered one of the best snacking items. 

Additionally, fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, artichokes, avocados, mushrooms, green paprika, zucchini, radishes, chicory, spinach, olives, corn, leek, peas, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, onions, carrots, cabbages, and cauliflowers are packed with minerals and nutrients. That is why salads are excellent midday snacks. 

Moreover, snacks prepared from food groups such as nuts, legumes, dairy products, whole grains, and cereals are a rich source of minerals and vitamins. 

Hence, making these food groups top-tiered snacking items. They are not just filling and appetizing, but they are also packed with energy and nutrients. 

Unprocessed Foods 

Unprocessed or minimally processed foods are ideal for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Processed foods that contain carcinogenic chemicals are used for killing bacteria and prolonging the shelf-life of such items. They have no nutritional value yet they are consumed and eventually accumulated in our bodies due to unhealthy snacking habits. Although, some processed foods such as dark chocolate, coffee, fruit seeds, vegetable chips, and selected protein bars are healthier snacks than the ones usually available. But their consumption should be limited within the daily dietary recommendations and normal calorie counts for optimal health. 

Some of the unhealthiest processed snacks include instant ramen, microwave popcorn, margarine, flavored nuts, sweetened dry fruits, fruit snacks, ketchup, and bacon. They may seem like convenient options due to their reduced cooking and preparing time, but they can have destructive pathological outcomes. 

Probiotics

Probiotics contain food groups that are rich in microorganisms. Our body contains several bacteria that benefit us through the waste products they release. These are known to increase immunity and may also reduce depression, improve digestion, and cardiovascular health. Thus, consuming snacks containing probiotics is a healthier option. These contain yogurt (especially Greek), kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, natto, cheese, buttermilk, kombucha, and kimchi. Seasonings like pickles and miso are also rich in probiotics that can be consumed with toasts as snacks. 

Snacks for Quenching Your Thirst 

It’s a common urge to reach out to an alcoholic or fizzy drink to quench your thirst. People aren’t mindful of the drinks they consume, thinking that they must be comparatively healthy. But these are rich in glucose, which is readily absorbed into your bloodstream and can cause a spike in the crash that can leave you feeling tired. Choose a healthier drink like protein shakes, fat-free milk, unsweetened juices, low-sodium tomato, or vegetable juices. And finally, if all else fails water is the best option! 

Cut Down Refined Sugars

Sugar cravings can be intense. But they can be curbed by eating foods that have lower sugar content or aren’t made from refined sugars. Eventually, it helps achieve better control and reduces the intensity of your cravings. Until then better options to curb your sweet tooth include a teaspoon of raisins, fresh fruit, fat-free fruit yogurt, dried food, a slice of fresh angel cake, homemade cookies, or cakes made with a low amount of brown sugar. 

In conclusion, fresh foods rich in probiotics, minerals, and vitamins make a great snack. Whereas, snacks containing refined sugars, processed food items, high fat (several fried foods), and low nutrients are unhealthy options. Snacking isn’t bad, In fact, you’re ideally meant to have six meals per day. But be careful about what you’re consuming and its portion size.

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Editorial Staff
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