Snacking for fitness

Fitness Snacks

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To snack or not to snack? You’re trying to lose weight but feel you could get through better if you could have the odd snack here and there. Well you need to get to know which foods are good for snacking on and which foods can actually help you lose weight. You may have heard that fruit is bad to snack on because of the hidden sugars, when in fact these sugars can actually help defeat cravings, and healthy fats found in some nuts can actually help to speed up your metabolism. If you are calorie counting you can maybe factor in a couple of small snacks to help,you through the day. And if you do need to snack while on your diet, here are a few foods that are perfect for those mid-afternoon cravings, but also check with your personal trainer who can advise you.

Bananas are the perfect healthy snack if you’re on a diet or trying to lose weight as they’re extremely filling and release energy slowly, making your body feel fuller for longer and the sweetness of bananas also helps your cravings for sugary food.

A large banana is around 121 calories.

Almost any fruit is going to make a good snack, but you usually want to pair it with a bit of protein to make it more satisfying, as the carbohydrates will get used up relatively quickly and the protein will help sustain your energy and hunger levels for a couple of hours.

One large apple and one cup of skim milk will give you 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre for just over 200 calories.

A snack consisting of almond and dried apricots could be very nutritional and satisfying. Almonds are high in protein and fibre, as well as being low-GI, a good source of magnesium, and rich in vitamin E (an antioxidant). They contain healthy fats and can help reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol. They are excellent at curbing hunger and therefore promoting healthy weight loss. Dried apricots are rich in carotenes, which may lower the risk of cancers of the throat and lungs and provide you with potassium, iron, calcium, silicon, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Dried apricots have a far greater nutritional value than fresh ones because the nutrient content is so concentrated. Gram for gram, dried apricots have twelve times the iron, seven times the fibre and five times the vitamin A of fresh ones.

Six to eight apricots plus 20 to 25 almonds is approximately 250 calories. A handful of just almonds contains 92 calories.

Hazelnuts are packed full of vitamins and oils and they are also rich in fibre which is great for keeping food moving through the body. Eating nuts like hazelnuts also speeds up your metabolism which makes you burn calories.

A large handful of hazelnuts is around 170 calories.

Seeds are high in protein and a good source of phytosterols which are plant compounds believed to reduce cholesterol and enhance immune function. Sunflower seeds are proved to be the best source of phytosterols as well as being a good source of magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacins which is a substance that appears to help prevent prostate enlargement they are also a good source of zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Research also suggests pumpkin seeds might have anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in curbing the symptoms of arthritis. If you add a handful of raisins to this mix and you’ll be upping your iron intake and potassium intake.

A tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins is around 240 calories.

Avocados have a high fibre content, good protein levels and low carbohydrate levels meaning they leave you feeling satisfied and full after you eat them.

There are about 160 calories in an avocado.

The chickpeas and sesame paste found is hummus make it a high fibre food and it could actually help you lose weight instead of gain fat. Add a few carrot sticks and cucumber slices and this will make a satisfying snack.

2 tablespoons of hummus contains around 70 calories.

Olives could be your snack of the day and they’re relatively low in calories.

One serving of five olives contains about 25 calories.

Aired popcorn is high in fibre and takes longer to eat than other snacks so you won’t actually eat as much as other snacks and it will also leave you feeling fuller for longer too!

A small bag of popcorn usually contains around 100 calories.

A homemade smoothie with no added sugar, sweetener or additives could satisfy a sweet craving. While a fruit juice counts towards your fruit and veg target, it doesn’t offer any fibre. A smoothie, on the other hand, contains the pulp of the fruit and not just the juice, and provides you with fibre plus a whole array of vitamins and minerals whilst also boosting hydration and has found that liquid foods help you to feel full for longer, making you less likely to overeat later on. For maximum health benefits, choose a berry-rich flavour smoothie for the best healthy snack drink option. Calories would depend upon ingredients used.

Whilst peanut butter is high in fat, it’s the unsaturated kind and and peanuts are a great source of the antioxidant vitamin E. Peanut butter is also rich in protein and so a good option for vegetarians and is a good source of magnesium. Try the peanut butter on rye crispbreads which are low in salt, high in fibre and have a low GI, so you won’t get an energy high followed by a crash.

Two teaspoons of peanut butter on two rye crispbreads is around 180 calories.

Lastly you could even have a piece of chocolate but ensure its dark chocolate containing at least 70 per cent cocoa solids which is a good source of antioxidants. Although chocolate is high in fat, it consists of saturated types, including stearic and palmitic acid and oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. A number of studies have found that chocolate’s main fat, stearic acid, has a neutral effect on the LDL, the bad cholesterol. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure, and has twice the magnesium of and more iron than milk chocolate. And it’s very tasty.

20g is around 120 calories.

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