Top 5 Healthy Snack Food Swaps
Trying to cut the calories? Try these healthy snack food swaps to boost your health and slim your waistline.
Snacking has been the downfall of many a woman's healthy diet; at work, at home or out shopping - who hasn't succumbed to the dreaded munchies at one point or another? Unfortunately for us, snack foods tend to be sugary, fatty, salty and highly processed; in other words, a surefire recipe for weight gain and heart disease. But fear not, help is finally at hand - read on to find out how to trade in those nasty chips and cookies for yummy, healthy foods which are much kinder to both your body and your waistline!
Save calories - swap chips for olives
Chips are one of the most popular snack choices for women today, but they are also among the worst as far as your health is concerned - did you know that just one small packet can contain more than 200kcal? Worse, chips are also notoriously high in salt, the infamous "silent killer" which contributes to the development of hypertension and heart disease.
Olives, due to their naturally savory flavor, are the perfect replacement for this unhealthy snack. A portion of four contains around 30kcal, and provides a great source of "good" unsaturated fat and essential fatty acids like Omega 3 - both of which have been proven to boost mood and protect against heart disease. Olives are also rich in vitamin E, a fantastic antioxidant which helps to keep skin supple and clear.
Swap ice-cream for healthy snack frozen yogurt
The sweet flavor and smooth texture of ice-cream make it another favorite snack food. Unfortunately, all that cream also renders the foodstuff highly-calorific; just one cup of the chocolate variety can set you back a whopping 300kcal. Ice-cream is also full of saturated fat, a substance which forms "bad" LDL cholesterol in the body, blocking arteries and causing heart disease.
Swap it for frozen yogurt, a snack which is equally delicious yet half as fattening - one portion contains around 160kcal. Frozen yoghurt is not only diet-friendly; it's also a great source of calcium. This mineral is key in the prevention of bone diseases such as osteoporosis, a condition which is becoming increasingly common in western society.
Swap cookies for dried fruit
Cookies are among the worst offenders of the snack world. All those chocolate chips and butter mean a shockingly high calorie count - a snack of just three can contain up to 200kcal! The sugar content of cookies is especially unhealthy; not only do such high levels of extrinsic sugar cause tooth decay, they also result in hyperactivity and mood swings.
Opt instead for a small handful of dried fruit - mango, blueberries and apricots are among the most healthy and delicious. Dried fruit is a natural and healthy sugar fix rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Not only this, but a small, mixed portion contains a waistline-friendly 114kcal.
Swap fries for sweet potato chips
Fries are yet another nutrition no-no when it comes to snacking. Each morsel is super-high in trans/hydrogenated fat, which is just as bad as the saturated variety in terms of artery-blocking potential. Worse, a medium-sized portion of around 130g will set you back more than 420kcal.
Swap them for sweet potato chips. Sweet potatoes (otherwise known as yams) are rich in beta-carotene, a miracle-working antioxidant vitamin which helps to protect against cancer and heart disease. Simply chop one potato into thin slices, roast for 20-30 minutes with a little oil and enjoy, safe in the knowledge that a cup-sized serving contains just 180kcal.
Swap hot chocolate for a fresh fruit smoothie
Hot chocolate is loved by many women across the globe, but few realize how calorie-laden the drink actually is - with the addition of whipped cream, one cup can contain as much as 190kcal. Instant "just add hot water" versions of the snack are also high in additives, such as flavorings and preservatives, many of which have been linked to cancer and hyperactivity.
Opt instead for a fresh fruit smoothie. Smoothies often contain as little as 130kcal, and are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Try blending strawberries and honeydew melon with water or low-fat milk and enjoy delicious diet-friendly refreshment.
By Jennifer Clarke
Jennifer Clarke is a nutrition know-it-all for Scrumptiously Real Nutrition. Visit now for free diet guides, the latest superfoods and more.