Sweet and Salty Healthy Snacks That We Can Enjoy Guilt-Free
e all love to indulge in the finer things especially when it comes to sweet and savory foods, but there are great healthy snack options that we can regularly enjoy without feeling guilty. Some of the food items that are nutritious for us are dark chocolate, potatoes, white rice, peanut butter and popcorn.
Dark chocolate is a great healthy snack when we want something to fill that sweet tooth craving while still being healthy. Dark chocolate is a delicious snack that can decrease LDL cholesterol or Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which can help lower cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate can reduce blood clots and improve blood vessel health. A rule of thumb when picking out a dark chocolate treat is to look at the cacao percentage. The higher the percentage of cacao means that there are more antioxidants and less sugar. Also, another thing to consider when consuming chocolate is that it can still be high in calories, so only two ounces when eating chocolate to prevent weight gain from the snack.
We all think of this starchy food item as an unhealthy choice, but potatoes can also be considered a healthy and filling option. Potatoes contain high amounts of fiber and potassium that you can’t get in a lot of other starchy food groups. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that helps with blood pressure, heart rhythm and muscle contractions. Another essential part of the potato is the skin; it is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are great for the body because they remove free radicals (oxygen reacting with molecules in your body) from the bloodstream. The next time you decide to add a little more to your plate, a potato might be the best option. The best way to cook a potato is by baking or grilling it to get the most nutrients from it.
There are a lot of misconceptions about white rice and how there is more processing done than brown rice so there is a lack of nutrients or that it has a high glycemic index. White rice actually has more essential nutrients than brown rice due to the way it is fortified. Brown rice contains a layer of bran that contains phytic acid, an antinutrient which makes minerals such as zinc and iron unabsorbable. Many believe that high levels of glycemic in white rice break down very fast causing more sugar to go into the bloodstream. That is a common misinterpretation about white rice and is if you consume it by itself. If you consume lean proteins with white rice, they work together to break down the nutrients you need for a healthy snack.
The savory spread we add to everything is healthy for us! Peanut butter is a great healthy snack when trying to satisfy any indulgence craving; it is high in protein, fiber and healthy fats that help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. Peanut butter is high in protein and fiber, adding it to a vegetable or a cracker will keep you full. This healthy snack potentially keeps you from overeating salty food that you can continuously snack on; peanut butter will make sure to satisfy your hunger. When looking for a tasty peanut butter that has nutritious value avoid any with added sugar or fats.
Buttery, salty and microwaved. A snack that doesn’t sound healthy right, but popcorn is 100 percent whole grain, rich in antioxidants and very low in calories. This light, healthy treat contains polyphenols which are usually found in most plant-based foods and are high in antioxidants. Popcorn contains twice as much polyphenols compared to a lot of different fruits. Popcorn is a great snack to have at any time of the day, with only 100 calories in three cups. The best way to consume popcorn while keeping it healthy is air popping it and adding a dash of salt.
These are great snacks we can enjoy regularly, but it is important to remember to eat them in moderation. When snacking it is easy to go overboard, but stay conservative when consuming any snack you eat.