Let’s face it: snacks happen. Some people even prefer several small meals a day to three large ones. But snacks can get out of hand when they are loaded with fat, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients. What if there was a way to snack healthy, keeping in mind a few delicious rules to help fight inflammation and maybe even offer some beneficial pain-relieving side effects?
Instead of: Popcorn or chips, try: Almonds, roasted in a variety of flavors
Almonds offer significant amounts of protein and healthy fats and also have been shown to lower cholesterol and offer benefits for heart health. So why not tart them up a bit and snack on something good for you? Three delicious recipes to try include:
- Dark Chocolate Bark With Roasted Almonds And Seeds: Not too much of this, but dark chocolate is good for your heart, and pumpkin seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits! Small servings of this—the darker the chocolate the better—can be a very satisfying dessert or quick afternoon pick-me-up.
- Hot And Spicy Almonds: Watch the salt in this recipe, but enjoy the anti-inflammatory properties of cumin and cayenne on these roasted almonds!
- Shoyu Wasabi Roasted Almonds: These salty and spicy almonds pack an immune-boosting wasabi wallop!
Instead of: Chewy candies or sweets, try: Cherries, fresh, dried, or in smoothies
Cherries are sweet, juicy, and satisfying to snack on, with fiber and a special anti-inflammatory compound that acts in the same way as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain. Search for cherries that are organic, and if you eat dried cherries, make sure to find varieties with no sugar added.
For a delicious treat, combine ½ cup of pitted cherries, 1 frozen banana, half a cup of Greek yogurt, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla in a blender (add a couple ice cubes if you want a frostier treat!). Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Instead of: French fries, try: Baked sweet potato fries with garlic aioli
Sweet potatoes are bursting with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and fiber. Toss cut up sweet potatoes with olive oil (omega-3s!) and a little sea salt and roast in the oven at 350˚ until they are crispy and delicious. Pair with a side of garlicky aioli for a little zip, and you have a wonderful heart healthy snack!
Image by Dudley Carr via Flickr