Everybody likes a snack. And it’s not just that you’re hungry between meals and you need a bite to eat, but also because snacks can be a treat for yourself. Treats help make you feel better and raise your spirits. So here’s a list of snacks that can get your heart pumping, both literally and figuratively. They’re delicious alternatives to the traditional bag of chips or candy bar that are not part of a healthy diet. So instead of dropping by the drive-through or heading straight for the candy aisle, you can and load up on some heart-healthy snacks.
1. Vegetables Dipped in Hummus – Fresh vegetables are low in calories and have many antioxidants. Many of them have no fat whatsoever and instead give you plenty of fiber to make your stomach feel full. Hummus, made from chick peas, is a great alternative protein without saturated fat.
2. Fruit Skewered on a Stick with a Little Dark Chocolate for Dipping – Fruit has a variety of antioxidants to fight cancer and heart disease. Dark chocolate has a high concentration of flavinols, which is a type of antioxidant that helps fight heart disease, and is in fact recommended by doctors for this very purpose.
3. Half of a Cantaloupe Filled with Fat Free Cottage Cheese, a Dash of Cinnamon and Some Berries – The cantaloupe and berries are rich in antioxidants, and the fat-free cottage cheese counts as a serving of dairy, while avoiding the saturated fat.
4. Fat-free Yogurt with Fruit and a Sprinkle of Nuts – Here’s a chance of getting another serving of dairy that contains no saturated fat, but plenty of antioxidants from fruit and, on top of that, a bit of healthy, unsaturated fat from the nuts.
5. Smoothies with Silken Tofu and Berries plus a Dash of Grape Juice or Pomegranate Juice As most dieters know, tofu is an excellent alternative protein source without saturated fat. Berries, grape juice and pomegranate juice have a high concentration of antioxidants and are very good for you.
6. Homemade Soup – Start with a vegetable base in order to load up on antioxidants and fiber. Make sure you don’t buy something that’s rich in sodium because that’s something you definitely don’t want for your heart. Add a bag of frozen vegetables and mix in a couple of cups of beans. Canned beans are rich in sodium, so make sure to rinse them thoroughly before use. Season it with fresh herbs.
7. Pureed Prunes — Sneak Them into your Brownies – Pureed fruit is an excellent addition to chocolate brownies because it helps strengthen the taste of chocolate. Another good thing is that you’ve put in something that use less oil or less butter and you’ve also added antioxidants because of the pureed fruit. Also fruit has fiber to lower your cholesterol.
8. Silken Tofu or Soy Milk — Substitute for Regular Milk in Recipes – Using tofu or soy milk instead of regular milk is a good way of adding heart healthy protein, while at the same time cutting down on the heart-clogging calories of the other oils you might have used.
9. Applesauce or Apple Butter — Use in Place of Oil for Muffins – Apple butter is one of best ingredients you can add to moisture the mix and to give it that pleasant fruit flavor that won’t combat your other ingredients.
10. Nuts and Small Chunks of Fruit — Sprinkle on Top of Muffins – If you substitute applesauce for the oil, you’ll be making a muffin low in fat, chock-full of antioxidants from fruit, fiber from nuts, and heart-healthy protein from the nuts.
11. Meatloaf — Use Tofu and Chopped White Chicken Meat Instead of Red Meat – This combination is absolutely great. The result will feel and taste just like meatloaf, but without the downside of eating red meat.