Monday, May 30, 2011

Try These Superfood Snacks

Superfoods claim to lower bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, help control weight and support a long life, all without any harmful side effects.

Picture of strawberries, kiwis, bananas, pineapples, and watermelon
Superfoods

The term superfoods has been used as a marketing tool that has captured the interest of many. While there is no official definition for superfoods, they are marketed as being healthier than other foods because they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals or other nutrients.

One common thread that all superfoods share is that they are minimally processed and comprise only a few ingredients. When it comes to choosing snacks jam-packed with nutrients, it's best to select foods that have not been through the processing plant before they reach your taste buds. That is, try to choose foods that have not been chemically treated, bleached, hydrogenated or refined. Foods tend to have the most health benefits when they are in their natural form. For a healthy diet, combine fresh fruits and vegetables, high-fiber grains and a source of fat or protein.

Try these superfood combinations to help keep your energy up and prevent you from getting overly hungry throughout the day:

Want something sweet?
Combine one serving of plain Greek yogurt with berries or other fruit and a scoop of granola. Add a dash of vanilla for added flavor.

Want something salty?
Make your own homemade trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit and cereal. For added sweetness, throw in a few dark chocolate chips.

Want something savory?
Use hummus as a dip for carrots or celery sticks, or as a spread for whole wheat pita bread or brown rice cakes.

Want something fast?
Wash and cut your produce at the beginning of the week and separate your nuts, yogurts, cheeses and spreads into individual serving sizes. That way, you can grab your superfood snack at a moment's notice to keep you revved up and feeling good all day long.

— McKenzie Hall, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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