Snacking. It happens to the best of us. No matter how hard you want to stick with your healthy diet, sometimes you need to eat something outside of your normal meal time. Maybe you haven’t been able to leave your desk at work to grab a healthy lunch, or a family illness is adding stress to your life, making it oh-so-tempting to hit the nearest snack machine and go to town. Before you toss back a handful of greasy chips or dig into that stale donut from the break room, consider that snacking can be healthy and even delicious! Here’s how to embrace snacking and why you should learn all about superfoods and the amazing benefits of consuming them.
To Snack or Not to Snack
For many of us, snacking feels illicit, like you’re cheating on your future meals. Too often, snacking is something done on impulse and involves shoving empty calories into your mouth that might momentarily sooth your hunger (and maybe your soul), but will ultimately inflate your waistline and harm your health.
However, snacking doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, adding healthy, pre-planned snacks into your daily meal plan can actually help you feel more satiated and focused throughout the day so that you don’t give in and gobble those extra scoops of ice cream at night.
Your Brain May Prime You to Snack
Unfortunately, as far as our bodies and brains go, we are still cavemen and cavewomen living in a modern world. That is why our brains crave high-sugar, high-fat foods. Even though we live with an abundance of food all around us, your brain is always trying to get you to pack on fat to protect you during a famine.
It’s no wonder that just two hours after a meal, you may start to feel hungry again or that you can so easily be tempted by unhealthy treats, like candy and chips. By holding off on eating snacks, you’ll be using a lot of your limited will power, which makes it more likely you’ll cave and gobble up something unhealthy when you face a stressful situation.
Instead of banning all snacks from your life, consider inviting in the right kind of snacks.
You’ve probably heard the term “superfood” applied to things like salmon, kale, blueberries, and acai, but what does it actually mean? The truth is that there is no set definition of what a superfood is or what it contains.
Generally speaking, superfoods are foods that are nutritionally dense and considered highly healthy to eat. Many of them contain lots of antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, and phytochemicals, which are the special chemicals that give plants like kale their rich colors. Some superfoods are thought to possibly ward off cancer, prevent heart disease, ease inflammation, soothe digestive problems, and even prevent diabetes. The amazing benefits of consuming superfoods make them ideal for adding into your regular meals and even adding to your daily snacks.
What Are Superfood Snacks?
Superfood snacks are snacks that are made with superfoods, like nuts, avocados, bananas, blueberries and more. They are made with natural ingredients that will benefit your health. Don’t be fooled though! A packaged blueberry muffin is NOT a superfood snack just because it contains a few blueberries.
Where to Find Superfood Snacks?
You can find healthy snacks at your local health food store and even at the grocery store. Many of these places carry snack bars that claim to be healthy or little treats that advertise their healthy ingredients in big, bold letters on their packages. Watch out! Some of these snack bars include lots of refined sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Just because something says it’s healthy, it doesn’t mean it actually is.
An easier way to ensure you are snacking on superfoods is to simply buy the super food! For example, eat a banana as your snack, or a handful of raw almonds. There’s no need to purchase a fancy bar. Another great option is to make your own superfood snack. Here is wonderful recipe for delicious Date Balls with a boost of superfoods from Bariaa Al Moukahal.
Bariaa Al Moukahal’s Date Ball Recipe
- 1 ½ cup of pitted Medjoul dates
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts
- 3 tbs oats
- 2 tbs chia seeds
- 1 tbs desiccated unsweetened coconut
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tbs turmeric
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- ½ tbs anise spice
- 1 tbs tahini (optional)
- 2 scoops of unflavored plant-based protein powder (optional)
- 3 tbs toasted sesame
- Pinch of sale
- Combine everything except the sesame seeds in a food processor
- Shape into separate bite-sized balls and coat with toasted sesame seeds
Why We Love This Recipe
These date balls are super duper yummy and can give you a great boost between meals so that you aren’t tempted to head to the nearest fast food place on your lunch break. Additionally, this treat is filled with healthy goodness. The nuts and seeds combined with dates provide a hearty dose of protein and fiber. The turmeric, cinnamon, and anise bump up the antioxidants and help ease digestion. Bariaa suggests gobbling one of these treats before or after your workout (hopefully at EōS Fitness), but we give you permission to eat one of these guilt-free indulgences anytime!
Improve Your Nutrition, Improve Your Health
Now that you know the amazing benefits of consuming superfoods, it’s time to put your new knowledge into practice. After all, nutrition is a huge factor in reshaping your body and improving your health, along with maintaining a consistent exercise routine. If you need help putting it all together, ask about our EōS Nutrition Program or discuss hiring an EōS personal trainer who can help you with your fitness and your diet.
Bariaa Al Moukahal is an Aerobics Association of America Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Strong First Kettlebell Level 1 Coach. Follow her on Instagram @MyHealthyTweaks