Healthy Alternatives to Artificially Sweetened Snacks
Snacks are an integral part of our daily schedule. Whether it is ice cream, cookies, or cupcakes, most of us find it hard to say no to these irresistible goodies. Unfortunately, too much snacking can cause health problems in the long term because of their high sugar content. Some people have chosen artificial sweeteners, like sucralose and aspartame, to avoid sugar. In theory, it sounds like a good idea. Sucralose and aspartame appear to be a healthier option than granulated sugar, but unfortunately, these sweeteners do more harm than good.
The Hazards of Artificial Sweeteners
Did you know that sucralose reduces good gut bacteria, releases toxins, and links to type 2 diabetes? Furthermore, aspartame is linked to at least 90 symptoms, including headaches and memory loss. While there are some people who do not consume artificial sweeteners, most of these people are unaware of the amounts of sugar that exist in many products that they consume on a daily basis. For example, ketchup and salad dressing both have heavy amounts of sugar, and if used frequently, can lead to high sugar consumption.
The Effects of Consuming Large Amounts of Sugar
Consuming large amounts of sugar on a daily basis can lead to diabetes and other health problems in the long term. It’s essential that we snack in a healthier manner. Making healthier food choices is crucial, especially when we are snacking. Here are five healthy snacks to try the next time you get the urge to munch on something between meals:
1. Cranberries with Almonds
Throw cranberries and almonds in a bowl, and instantly, you have your sweet and nutty snack ready to eat. Almonds are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. On the other hand, cranberries are high in antioxidants and low in sugar. If you’re not a fan of almonds, you can substitute them with sunflower seeds, which are similarly high in protein.
2. Boiled Eggs with Coconut Flakes
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Boiled eggs are not typically appealing, especially eaten alone. However, adding coconut flakes makes all the difference. Both eggs and coconuts are excellent sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs). Furthermore, eggs are a good source of protein (6 grams per egg), while coconuts are a source of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and iron.
3. 100% Cocoa with Honey
Chocolate is a favorite snack for many, but it has high amounts of added sugar. However, you don’t have to give up chocolate altogether. Many stores sell chocolate with higher cocoa content and less sugar. While it may be difficult, it is not impossible to find 100% cocoa. You can buy it online or from a specialty store. Cocoa is high in antioxidants, while honey has small amounts of B vitamins and minerals. Honey is also known to improve memory, boost energy, and reduce seasonal allergies. This is why we recommend honey over regular sugar. We suggest limiting the honey to one tablespoon since a tablespoon of honey equals to 12 grams of sugar. Two ounces of cocoa with a tablespoon of honey should be adequate for a snack.
4. Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc, alpha-linolenic acid (a plant-based omega 3), and manganese. They are also known to lower blood sugar levels. Often, when you buy pumpkin seeds, many of the packaged products are already salted with table salt. We suggest buying unsalted pumpkin seeds and adding sea salt to them. Sea salt has 50+ trace minerals and is less processed than table salt. It contains iodine (a necessary mineral), but table salt is heavily processed, leaving the salt without many of its initial nutrients.
Granola is still one of the most popular snack foods. It is a healthier alternative to cookies, cupcakes, and ice cream. Although there are many granola products that can be found in dozens of grocery stores, it is better to make your granola. Making granola is ideal because you get to choose which fruits, nuts and seeds that you want in your granola. Most fruits, nuts and seeds are abundant in nutrients, but you still need to be mindful of the sugar content. It is best to create a granola mix that is low in fructose sugar and carbohydrates.
Sugar is not the enemy. It is only the enemy when we eat too much of it. We only advocate that people become more conscious about their daily consumption of it. If you want to avoid it altogether, eating more protein will dramatically reduce your sugar cravings. If you want more healthy snack ideas, consider tuning in to The Bright Side or seeking nutritional counseling from a holistic health clinic like Fox Integrated Healthcare.