Healthy Snacks

berries

This morning there was a piece on the news that caught my eye about healthy snacks.  The journalist provided a list of what she thought were the “healthiest” snacks out there.  I have decided to do the same.  While I agree with her choices and I am going to add a few of my own:

Berries

This sweet natural snack is a treat we should be regularly indulging in.  Among the many benefits, berries help keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are a good source of Vitamin C, while blueberries and raspberries are also excellent sources of fiber. Ellagic acid, a polyphenol found in blueberries, can increase HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.  What’s more, the antioxidant properties of berries are also a good thing.  As a side note, to enhance antioxidant support, don’t forget to use a few drops a clove oil during the day.

Serving Suggestion: About 1 cup

Eat a handful for a snack.  Include in your favorite smoothie.

Top your cereal, yogurt or salads with these superfoods.

Avocado

This potassium-filled fruit (about twice the amount of bananas), avocados provide healthy fat and calorie intake.  Also filled with fiber, Vitamin E, B vitamins and folic acids, the fruit helps the body absorb three to five times more antioxidants, according to one study.

Serving Suggestion: About 1 cup

Slice it and top the butter flavored fruit with salt and pepper.

Cube it and toss into a salad.

For a twist on the classic Caprese salad, slice up some tomatoes and avocado, drizzle them with olive oil and balsamic, top with salt and pepper. Serve it with some cheese or bread for a slightly heartier salad.

Mash it into guacamole, mixing cumin, chili powder, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper into it. Serve it with some corn chips.

Always top your tacos, burritos or other Mexican fare with it.

Olives

This is my designated “emotional food”.  Dozens of health-protective nutrients have been identified in olives, and recent studies have taken a very close look at olive varieties, olive processing, and changes that take place in olive nutrients.

Greek-style black olives, Spanish-style green olives, Kalamata-style olives, and many different methods of olive preparation provide us with valuable amounts of many different antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Olives are unusual in their fat quality, because they provide almost three-quarters of their fat as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. The high monounsaturated fat content of olives has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Serving Suggestion:  about 1 cup

Add to salads, eat raw from an olive bar.  Canned olives are o.k; however, there is some controversy over the dilution of nutrients in the preservation/canning process.

Can be eaten as a side dish or salad or can be minced and used to top a sandwich.

Almonds

the delicately flavored and versatile almond is available throughout the year to make a healthy and tasty addition to both sweet and savory dishes.  The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers.

Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.

Serving Suggestion:  about 1 cup

Eat raw anytime during the day to curb those huner pains.  This is another emotional eating “go to” for me.  When I feel that urge to “emotional eat” I start popping almonds.

Excellent to top salads or a piece of baked or grilled fish.  Don’t forget that this nut makes really good ‘almond butter’ to spread on crackers or celery.

Dark Chocolate

I could give up chocolate, but I’m not a quitter.

By choosing a plain dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content, eaters of this delicious treat consume resveratrol and flavonoids, which work together as antioxidants that keep free radicals under control, decrease inflammation and repair damage, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Serving Suggestion: 1 ounce a few times a week – but who are we kidding, I eat it once a day around 3:00 p.m.m

Eat It:

Break off a piece from a bar and eat it plain.

Chop some up and add it to a homemade trail mix of nuts and dried berries.

Melt it into milk for a homemade mug of hot cocoa.  Add some cinnamon, peppermint or wild orange essential oil if you want some additional flavors and spices.

chocolate heart

  Enjoy!

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