Ready for a crunchy snack? Don’t reach for another bag of potato chips. Potato chips are fried in oil, doused with salt, and are too high in insulin-raising carbohydrates. They’re also loaded with acrylamides, an unhealthy chemical that forms when carbohydrates are fried or heated to high temperatures. Why not enjoy these healthy, crunchy snack alternatives instead?
There’s good news about America’s favorite movie-time treat. Popcorn is a whole grain food – and one of most filling and satisfying there is. This crunchy snack is one you can enjoy guilt-free, as long as you prepare it properly. Skip the microwave popcorn bags loaded with oils, and air-pop it yourself.
Put away the butter and season it with garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, five-spice powder, or any number of other spice combinations instead. Popcorn has no saturated fat and is a good source of fiber. Plus, there are only 31 calories in a cup. Popcorn gives you lots of crunch – without the guilt.
Almonds are a good source of healthy, monounsaturated fats that lower the risk of heart disease – by reducing LDL-cholesterol levels. Almonds are also a tasty source of fiber – and a single handful of almonds supplies over a third of the day’s requirement of vitamin E – a vitamin that’s good for the heart. No wonder almonds are praised for being a healthy, crunchy snack! Watch how many you eat if you’re concerned about your weight. Twenty-three whole almonds have around 160 calories.
How About Some Sunflower Seeds?
Sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamin E – not to mention the B vitamins – folate, thiamin, and niacin. They’re also rich in the trace mineral selenium, a strong antioxidant that the body needs in small quantities. This is a mineral that should come from food sources, not supplements, since high doses can be harmful.
Sunflower seeds contain other heart-healthy compounds including magnesium and phytosterols. Magnesium helps to reduce blood pressure, while phytosterols lower cholesterol levels. They’re relatively high in fat, but they contain healthier polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats – not saturated ones. Eat them in moderation since an ounce of sunflower seeds has 166 calories.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have a whopping 5 grams of protein per serving and are a good source of healthy, polyunsaturated fats. They’re also rich in heart-healthy magnesium and zinc – a mineral that’s important for a healthy immune system, fertility, growth, and wound healing. They’re also a decent source of iron to build healthy, red blood cells. You can enjoy 85 pumpkin seeds, while only taking in 126 calories.
4. Whole-Grain Cereal
Another healthy, crunchy snack, if you choose it wisely, is cereal. Select one that has at least five grams of fiber and less than five grams of sugar. Check the label, and be sure it lists whole-grains as the first ingredient. Eat cereal as a dry snack or enjoy it with milk. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.
5. Healthy, Crunchy Snacks: The Bottom Line?
Who says you can’t enjoy something crunchy if you’re nutrition-conscious? Skip the deep-fried chips and opt for these healthier choices instead. You’ll be glad you did.
Nutrition Data website.
World’s Healthiest Foods website.