For this week I am giving you two examples of healthy snacks that will be your alternative to a sugar-laden cookie. The first is crudités (raw vegetables) to boost your vitamin levels, such as carrots (rich in beta-carotine, fibre, vitamins C and E, calcium and potassium) which can help to protect your eyesight and against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Celery is another great source of potassium and fibre. Its calcium content is beneficial for maintaining healthy bones and healthy blood pressure levels. I also like to integrate avocados in my diet as often as possible since their high vitamin E content is vital for a healthy immune system.
My other focus lies on nuts and seeds (unsalted, of course!), such as almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Nuts and seeds offer a myriad of vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium (almonds), selenium and magnesium (Brazil nuts), omega-3 fats (walnuts), and zinc and iron (pumpkin seeds). Snacking on nuts, especially almonds, can help stabilizing blood sugar levels and therefore preventing cravings. However, keep in mind that even though they are healthy, nuts and seeds contain a lot of fats and calories so watch your portions. The process of activating nuts can help the digestive system, since the husk usually contains poisons. Therefore, I would recommend soaking non-oily nuts or seeds such as almonds, walnuts or pumpkin seeds and then drying them in the oven overnight (on the lowest temperature level).
Crudités with Curd Cheese Dip
For 2 portions
- 2 large carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1/4 cucumber
- 1/3 mid-sized courgette
- 1/2 Avocado, sliced
(All chopped into sticks)
For the dip:
- 200g fat-free curd cheese (also called churn or quark)
- Splash of fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt, cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley or chives, chopped
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Splash of extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the vegetables and chop into sticks. Arrange on a plate.
- In a small bowl, mix curd cheese with lemon juice and spices. Roughly chop the herbs and stir in dip. To add even more flavour, finely chop garlic and stir into the cheese. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes for flavour development.
- Consume within 36 hours.
Healthy Nuts and Seed Mix
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Take as many non-oily nuts and seeds as you wish and soak them overnight in water with a pinch of sea salt. Use a pot and cover with a lid.
- Drain them and scatter them on a baking tray. Dry them in the oven on the lowest temperature setting for a minimum of 12 hours. I would recommend doing this on a weekend.
- Store them in a sealed container or ziplock bag in a dark and cool place (fridge or freezer will also work).
Author: Danica Utermohlen
Picture credits: Danica Utermohlen
Disclaimer: This article has been edited. It was first published on 09/01/2015 for GloTIME, http://glotime.tv/january-detox-healthy-snacks/
On activating nuts and seeds, I can recommend reading Sarah Wilson’s I quit sugar, 2013, MacMillan Australia (2014, MacMillan UK: London)