guilt free snack ideas

When we snack between meals or when we take one appetizer while cooking we are often overcome by emotional hunger and this leads us to choose the first thing we see in the fridge or in the cupboard. But these options are not always healthy because most of the time we resort to over-processed products rich in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, which are not satisfying and, in many cases, it is not nutrient. In fact, according to the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity, one in two overweight people eat snacks, which contributes to their physical condition not improving. So one would think that what we need to do is to stop snacking between meals, but in this regard, experts call on us to be flexible.

Although there are numerous studies that correlate the number of daily intakes with a greater tendency to overweight or at portlinessthe truth is that for nutritionists what really matters is not the number of intakes we make daily, but their quantity and quality.

But in addition, experts urge us to know what our body requires so that we can meet its primary demands, even if that means breaking the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” mold. Do we eat because we have to or because we are really hungry? If being in front of the computer all day or spending more hours at home makes us think that we can relieve tension, fatigue or even boredom with a snack, we should stop and think about whether you are really hungry. A test to find out is to change the activity you are doing for another for a few minutes (a physical activity would be most appropriate). If the feeling passes, it is that we are not really hungry. But if we’re still hungry, it’s time to eat something and to do it in a healthy way we need to have a good supply of appetizing and healthy options available.

That’s why the ideal, as dietitians-nutritionists suggest, is to plan what we should have available when we like to snack between meals. And that starts with the shopping list. The nuts Plain (raw, no added sugars and no salt) are good choices, as are edamame and pickles. But if what you want is to prepare your own healthy appetizers, it is important to write down all the ideas that come to your mind, so that you can buy the necessary ingredients to make them at the supermarket. You can prepare a homemade hummus, vegetable crudités. fruit cut into pieces, homemade vegetable chips (kale, zucchini, chickpeas…), a bowl of quark cheese or natural yogurt (no added sugar) accompanied by red fruit and seeds or homemade crackers with seeds or even popcorn at home. We tell you what to keep in mind so that everything you buy is healthy.

Legumes, great allies

They are a rich source proteins Y essential amino acids. They contain B vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and iron. Its fatty acids are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which helps to reduce LDL, i.e. bad cholesterol. They also provide great quantity fiber, which contributes to a moderate blood sugar response and thus slower absorption. This helps us stay full longer and helps control emotional hunger pangs.

One of the easiest and most nutritious ways to prepare legumes is to make them in the form of hummus and accompany it with carrots, celery, radishes, endives, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber or pepper (green, red or yellow).

The traditional homemade hummus It is made with boiled chickpeas, some tahini (sesame paste), some cumin, garlic, salt, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. When serving it, you can sprinkle sweet paprika on top and add pine nuts, almonds or even some cooked chickpeas.

The base of the original hummus is chickpeas (hummus actually means chickpeas in Arabic), however it is possible to reconfigure and adapt the original recipe using ingredients as varied as avocado as a base (don’t miss Aldi’s avocado hummus recipe experts) lentils and beets, peas, beans or even edamame.

Pickles, a source of probiotics

Pickling is a technique used since ancient times to preserve food. Homemade, it is prepared by immersing (marinating) the food in a salt solution so that it is fermented with the help of a harmless microorganism (lactobacillus plantarum) which lowers its pH and increases its acidity to increase its keeping ability. You can pickle cucumbers, cabbage, olives, green onions, eggplants, capers, carrots, lupins or even cauliflower.

What fermented foods It is good for the gut microflora due to its probiotic nature, but it also promotes digestion, relieves constipation and flatulence and has a satiating effect. In fact, nutritionists claim that they reduce the desire to consume sugar. Of course, the fact that they are foods rich in salt makes it important to control their consumption in cases of hypertension.

Natural yogurt or quark cheese with fruit

To have fresh fruits Hand-cut in the fridge can be a good idea if you want to ensure that you choose something healthy when you want to snack. But if we need to add a bonus of satiety, the ideal is to prepare a more complete appetizer or snack, based on natural yogurt without sugar or quark cheese (or fresh whipped cream).

The yoghurt It is a source of protein (easier to digest than milk because it contains less lactose) and essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, but it also contains healthy bacteria (probiotics) that are good for the gut, as bifidobacilli and containing lactobacilli help restore flora balance and promotes intestinal transit. It contains B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12), vitamin A and vitamin E. Its whey proteins and casein are satiating and contribute to the development and protection of bones and muscles.

Vegetable chips and seed crackers

A good alternative to chips is to make our own vegetable chips. For this we only have to choose the vegetable we like the most (zucchini, sweet potato, spinach, pumpkin, cauliflower…). An option that usually surprises is the one prepared with cabbage. To make these chips, clean their leaves well, dry them, place them on a tray with baking paper, sprinkle with the spices you want, add a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 180ºC until they are crispy (the time will depend on each type of oven, so the ideal is to keep an eye on them during the process). The cauliflower chips recommended by Aldi’s experts are also a delight.

This same process can be applied to make a delicious and healthy appetizer: seasoned chickpeas. For this you need boiled chickpeas, which are also placed in the oven tray and seasoned (with curry, turmeric, salt and pepper, or with oregano, sun-dried tomato and Herbes de Provence, or with garlic powder, paprika and thyme). Then we will bake at 200ºC (also the time will depend on each oven) until they become crispy.

Also the homemade popcorn They are good choices to avoid highly processed snacks. To prepare them, it is enough to put the corn kernels in a pan on high heat with a splash of extra virgin olive oil. We will add the herbs we like best and the salt, cover and turn down the heat. You need to know, but with the steam that is created they will be done in a short time.

But if what you want is to give your body extra energy, the homemade crackers made with seeds can be great allies as a snack. You can mix and match any seeds you want, but a combination that works well is this: meditate on one cup chia seeds, half pumpkin seeds, and half sesame seeds. To prepare the crackers, you just need to mix the seeds with a beaten egg and half a cup of tapioca flour. Add salt and a little water until a wet but uniform mass remains. Then spread the dough, so that it is as thin as possible, on an oven tray and bake at 180ºC for half an hour (check the time because it depends on each oven). The idea is that they are crunchy and perfect to pair with vegetable pate or hummus. You can also prepare crackers by combining nuts with seeds.

Other healthy options with some appetizer recipes recommended by Aldi’s experts, such as clams in vinaigrette, tomatoes stuffed with quinoa tabbouleh, smoked salmon canapés with cream cheese, asparagus cream cups, cherry gazpacho with arugula, basil and chia or avocado rolls with smoked salmon .

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