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April 2011
Healthy Snacking for Binge Eating
Sunita Pant Bansal
Do you feel hungry in between meals? You want to eat but you’re worried about gaining weight. Well… you are not alone!

Did you know that snacking in-between meals is good? It not only keeps our energy level consistent throughout the day, but also prevents us from overeating during mealtimes. So, it stands to reason that if we have healthy foods available for snacking, we would actually benefit!

Healthy snacking foods
Avocado: It is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides and increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL). By improving blood cholesterol, avocado lowers the risk of heart diseases. Moreover, the oleic acid and linolenic acid in the fruit lower blood pressure. Not only heart disease, avocado also prevents cancer. It is loaded with fibre, minerals like potassium and magnesium and vitamins C, E and K, which help prevent cell mutation and suppresses tumour growth, thus reducing the chances of getting cancer.

Banana: It is rich in potassium and low in sodium, helping the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain. This indirectly reduces the risk of blood pressure and stroke. Banana is also an energy-boosting and mood-elevating fruit. It contains tryptophan that helps the body to produce serotonin, which helps the mind to relax and makes one feel uplifted. Being one of the best natural sources of vitamin B6 and iron, banana also supplies the vital nutrients needed by the body to produce blood. But since it is packed with calories, one has to go easy with it.

Celery: It has anti-cancer compounds, such as phthalides and polyacetylenes that detoxify carcinogens. Eating celery also clears uric acid from painful joints and helps in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatic problems. Practically zero-calorie, it is a great food for dieters.

Cherry Tomato: They are packed with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, Folate and minerals, like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and manganese. The lycopene in cherry tomatoes has been proven to be an effective agent against breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. A very high fibre, low calorie nutritious salad option for all!

Sweet Potato: Since sweet potato has a low Glycemic Index, it helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, contrary to what its name indicates. It also provides a significant amount of dietary fibre, vitamins B2, B6, B7 and E, thus helping in strengthening the immune system. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate free radicals, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases and various cancers especially prostate, stomach and lung cancer. Sweet potato, baked or roasted, makes a very healthy snack.

Yoghurt: Yoghurt is a good source of calcium and protein. A 200ml serving of yoghurt contains 30% – 40% of the adult recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium and 20% for protein. Yoghurt helps to regulate digestion and strengthens the immune system. The active cultures in yoghurt are good bacteria that stimulate infection-fighting cells in the body, thus preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Smoothies are the best form in which one can have this wonder food.

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