Snack your way to better health

Snacking isn’t necessarily bad for you. Senior Dietitian Gerard Wong from Parkway Cancer Centre looks at some healthy snacks that can add fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals to your diet.

Mixed nuts and seeds

Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Benefits: Packed with fibre, minerals, protein and unsaturated fat, mixed nuts and seeds have been associated with lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. They may also help prevent certain cancers.

Watch out for: While the fat in nuts and seeds are predominantly good fats, they can still be high in fat and calories. Watch your portions and don’t take too much, especially, if you are trying to lose weight. For a bit of variety, you can also add a small amount of dried fruits into the mix.

Fruits

Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, peaches, oranges and pears.

Benefits:  Fruits are not only naturally packed with antioxidants, fibre, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients, they can also promote healthy skin and help you fight against viral and bacterial infections.

Watch out for: All fruits contain natural fruit sugars (and some may have more than others). Always try to stick to having whole fruits as opposed to fruit juices as you will inherently end up with less fibre and more calories.

Oatmeal

Go for whole grains and choose low-sugar or unflavoured instant oatmeal. Spice them up with fresh toppings like fresh berries, mixed nuts or yoghurt. 

Benefits: One of the most nutrient-dense foods around, oatmeal makes a great breakfast option or snack to fix your hunger pangs. A good complex carbohydrate and rich in fibre, it can help you reduce weight, lower blood sugar (due to its lower glycaemic index) and cholesterol levels.

Yoghurt

Plain or Greek yoghurt.

Benefits: Yoghurt is a good source of calcium, protein, potassium and probiotics that are good for your heart and gut. It also strengthens your immune system and helps fight osteoporosis.

Watch out for: If you snack on fruit or flavoured yoghurt, watch out for their higher sugar content and calories.

Crispbread

Most of the regular plain crackers can be high in sodium and saturated fat. For healthier alternatives, try Vita-Weat™, Ryvita™, corn thins or rice cakes. Add taste with healthy toppings such as low-fat cheese, hummus or smoked salmon.

Hummus

Use it as a tasty dip or nutritious spread over your wholegrain wrap or sandwich.

Benefits:  A creamy dip originating from the Middle East that is typically made up of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon and garlic, hummus is loaded with healthy fat, fibre and slow-digesting carbohydrates. It can help to control blood sugar levels, promote digestive health, and keep your weight down by helping you stay full longer.



Tags: cancer diet & nutrition, healthy food & cooking, healthy lifestyle