By Justinne Lou Go, RND
SNACKS seem to be the meal that most people slip on when it comes to healthy eating. It’s a dilemma where either one doesn’t know what sensible snacks to have or that snack times just seem more tempting to binge on than meals.
A healthy snack would be defined as a nutritious and filling yet light meal, meant to curb hunger while nourishing and fueling the body with the right energy and nutrients. After all, the common reason one would have a snack is to satiate hunger and keep you from eating too much later in the day. For a healthy snack to fulfill this role, it must contain at least two food groups-a combination of a carb (carbohydrate) and protein or good fat. Protein and fat contribute to satiety, that feeling of being full.
A common misconception about healthy eating is that it is more expensive. Well, I can tell you that that is definitely not true; if there’s a will, there’s a way. The usual snack choices of the working class range from street food, convenience food and fast food items such as tempura, kwek-kwek, banana cue, peanuts, siopao, hotdog sandwich, burgers, fries, bakery breads, chips, etc. If you really think about it though, would you rather spend on food that doesn’t help with your productivity? And in fact, these kinds of food make you less productive by making you groggy and unable to concentrate well.
You can easily make healthier choices by planning ahead, setting your mind on the right choices, and understanding that the food choices you make contribute to your health, work productivity and long-term goals. And making healthier choices doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. You can either make and bring your own easy healthy snacks or note the places near your work area that support your health goals.
Here are some of my recommendations for healthy snacking on a budget (all items under P100!):
Fresh Fruits. Fruits are some of the easiest and tastiest healthy foods to eat. But it’s also good to remember that fruits quickly turn into sugar in the body as well. So, to temper that, it’s best to have fruits with some Greek yogurt or a handful of dry-roasted, unsalted nuts. You can grab a fresh fruit salad with yogurt from Thirsty or if you have more time to spare, choose your own fruits from the salad bar of supermarkets and grab a yogurt or a pack of nuts to go with it.
Fresh Green Salad. Salads are a great way to get the most variety of nutrients from the diversity of vegetables you can toss in together. It’s great that our supermarkets now have fresh fruit and salad bars where we can create our own salads. I love SM Supermarket’s salad bar especially if you arrive early and get first dibs on the freshly sliced vegetables still looking pretty. Be careful with your dressing though! Always choose vinaigrettes over mayo-based dressings.
Kakanin. Show some support for our native delicacies. A lot of these are grain-based, usually glutinous rice-based, and though this is a refined carb, the coconut milk in these food items give it a nutritious factor. And since they are dense and heavy, they easily fill you up too. Have some budbud, puto or bibingka with a cup of all natural tablea hot chocolate for that perfect match! Bibingka dawa (millet cakes) and budbud kabog (millet rolls) are great choices too as these are whole grain.
Hummus and Pita. Who doesn’t love dips and Mediterranean food? My Greek Taverna offers good and inexpensive hummus which you can have with a side order of their pita or bring your own vegetable sticks to have with it!
Wheat Sandwiches. Sandwiches are the poster items when one thinks of snacks. Obviously, because these are the easiest to prepare and a lot of us probably grew up with sandwiches as snacks. You can easily pack a peanut butter sandwich or tuna sandwich to school or work, but if you couldn’t be bothered, Thirsty and Fruitfull now offer wheat sandwiches made fresh to order.
Chia Pudding. This is becoming a popular item in healthy café’s and restaurants. This is actually really easy to make and can be a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. If you want the recipe, just message me on Facebook or shoot me an email. Or, you can just Google it, too. If you still don’t think you can spare the time to make it yourself, the most inexpensive one you can get is from Toniq.
Boiled Sweet Corn. This is actually one of the simplest snacks you can easily pack with you or find on the streets and in malls. This ubiquitous, fragrant vegetable packs a punch of the antioxidants zeaxanthin and Vitamin A. Skip the margarine though and enjoy it simply as it is, with a handful of nuts.
Keeping a mental note on places where you can get healthy snack choices or simply being equipped with a healthy snack you made from home are some of the most practical ways to help keep you on track with your health goals.
A few of the recommendations I mentioned may be a little more expensive than the usual choices but remember, it’s better to invest in your health than to invest in sickness (medications, doctor’s visits and hospital bills). You will see that investing in your health will reap much greater benefits. You will feel better, look better and work better. Don’t waste away your life working so hard to reach your financial goals while ultimately compromising on health. Add years to your life and life to your years.