It helps to have plenty of healthy snacks available to avoid eating processed or unhealthy foods. Snacking is one of the leading contributors to obesity and Americans still make poor choices with snacks even though many of us know the negative effects of eating unhealthy foods.
So why do people still eat junk foods or unhealthy foods for snacks? One of the main reasons is the convenience that processed foods provide and not having healthy options available in their place. Processed foods are definitely convenient if not healthy, and you have to consciously replace them with healthy options if you want to avoid the consequences of unhealthy snacking.
Below are some of the best healthy snacks to have at your disposal. When you aren't on the HCG diet or another diet you should have these foods available to keep yourself energized throughout the day, keep your blood sugar levels stay, and reduce your appetite prior to your next meal. These snacks are rich in protein which breaks down gradually, and healthy fats which have been shown to not contribute to obesity but actually maintain a healthy weight.
Remember that you need to be careful about the number of calories that you consume each day, and you should speak with your physician regarding the appropriate amount of calories that are right for you based on your age and fitness level.
Snack #1 - Apples
Apples are one of the absolute best healthy snacks, and you can pair an apple with something like a glass of skim milk or almond milk to help make it more satisfying. Apples have plenty of fiber so they are filling and they are low in calories as well. One large apple has a little over 100 calories but provides 21% of your daily fiber intake.
Apples are good for brain healthy as they are packed with phytonutrients including an antioxidant called quercetin which has been shown to reduce inflammation levels and reduce oxidation damage in the body. Try to eat organic apples which are produced without harmful chemicals and pesticides and be sure to wash them thoroughly, and eat the skin as the skin has the highest concentrations of antioxidants and fiber.
Snack #2 - Almonds
Almonds have proven to be an excellent snack and they are packed with minerals and vitamins as well as healthy fats and protein. The best way to eat almonds like many other healthy foods is raw, but they have the same health benefits when they are roasted. They also provide a large amount of fiber in each serving which helps them break down even more slowly and normalize blood sugar levels. The health benefits of almonds including a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lowered cholesterol levels.
Snack # 3 - Olives
Olives can be an acquired taste but if you enjoy eating them you should eat more of them, as they have plenty of health benefits. They help regulate blood sugar because the monounsaturated fatty acids break down gradually and reduce your appetite. They slow down the process of digestion and send signals to your brain that you are full, and they stimulate a chemical that helps the body burn fat. They are a great snack to eat before a larger meal as they help the body prepare for the meal and reduce the chance of overeating by reducing appetite. The oleic acid in olives is heart protective and they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Olives are also great for the cardiovascular system and can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Olives can help trigger the body to break down stored fat and people who regularly eat olives and olive oil have shown to be rarely overweight. When olives are eaten regularly as a snack they can reduce our daily calorie consumption by an average of 200 calories because of their ability to reduce appetite. Basically if you can include olives in your daily snacking habits be sure to
Snack #4 - Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a delicious and filling vegetable that goes great with natural salad dressing or just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. It can be used as a mashed potato replacement and there are dozens of recipes for cauliflower "mashed potatoes" or cauliflower "hummus" that you can use as a hummus or mashed potato replacement. It has a cancer fighting compound called sulforaphane and it has been shown to boost cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure.
Cauliflower is also rich in minerals and vitamins like the other healthy snacks mentioned in this article, and it improves brain health as it is a great source of choline which is important for cognitive function. It also helps protect the lining of your stomach and supports digestion, and it may prevent the development of ulcers. If you don't like cauliflower there are plenty of other cruciferous vegetables that you can pick from that make great snack options including broccoli, kale, arugula, turnips, Chinese cabbage, radishes and many others.
Snack #5 - Cabbage
Cabbage can be used as a base for snack salads, and when combined with other healthy vegetables it is amazingly beneficial and a filling snack that is rich in fiber. There are very few calories in cabbage; just 33 in one cup of cooked cabbage. Cabbage helps normalize blood pressure and blood sugar, and red cabbage has the best blood sugar regulating effect with compounds called betalins that increase insulin production.
Steamed cabbage provides a cholesterol lowering effect and the fiber in cabbage is more effective when it is steamed as well. Raw cabbage provides the same benefits, just not as effectively as steamed cabbage. Eating all types of cabbage including red and green varieties is beneficial as each type of cabbage has different types of health benefitting compounds. Being a cruciferous vegetable it has potent anti-cancer compounds, and you want to eat cruciferous vegetables as snacks or meals at least two to three times per week to receive their health benefits.
Like most vegetables, the more you eat them the better, and although we listed just 5 healthy snacks here you can expand this list by including most vegetables and most fruits (particularly low glycemic index fruits).