Healthy Christmas Snacks You Won’t Lose Sleep Over
The presents are under the tree, the fairy lights are twinkling and you’re deciding whether to get stuck into that first mince pie. One naughty nibble can’t do any harm, can it? Well, we’re as guilty as the next person when it comes to tucking into the Christmas treats. But one mince pie inevitably leads to another and before you know it, you’re the one that’s looking like a Christmas pudding.
The trouble is, it’s not just your waistband that will feel the strain. Because carrying a few extra pounds, especially around the belly, can also lead to insomnia, restless sleep and daytime fatigue. And even worse, when you don’t get enough good quality sleep, levels of your stress hormone cortisol rise, which can lead to even more weight gain. What’s more, elevated cortisol also causes higher insulin levels, your blood sugar levels plummet and you start to crave even more sugary, fatty foods.
Of course, you can avoid all those problems by swapping naughty snacks like chocolates, biscuits and treats for some more angelic alternatives. Here are 8 of our favourites:
Sweet, nutritious and totally delicious, blueberries are low in calories but packed full of health benefits. Just one cup full contains 24% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 36% of vitamin K, and 25% of manganese. All for around 84 calories.
These young soya beans are a great source of complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients. They are also low in calories and contain no cholesterol. And these super beans also boost energy and promote healthy hair and complexion.
Rich in protein and carbohydrates, Brazil nuts are also a brilliant source of vitamin B1, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. They also contain one of the highest amounts of selenium of any food. This antioxidant helps to fight free radicals that may contribute to aging and health conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Eating yogurt is one of the very best ways to feel full, stabilise your blood sugar – and shed a few pounds. The Greek variety has twice the protein and less sugar than ordinary yoghurt too.
Unlike most fruits, apples contain pectin, which slows down your digestion. They also take a long time to eat for relatively few calories, so your belly has more time to tell your brain that you feel full.
Yes really! Popcorn is rich in antioxidants and while it might fill you up, it’s mostly full of air. So you can trick your brain into thinking you’ve had a big snack when the exact opposite is true.
Don’t be put off by the high fat content. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and fibre, as well as vitamins B, K and E. Studies show that eating avocados regularly can even lower blood cholesterol levels.
Just a handful of walnuts provides more than 100% of your recommended daily allowance of omega- fats, plus vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols and antioxidants. They also contain their own source of melatonin, the hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles, which could help you to fall asleep faster. Just don’t forget to take your Benenox half an hour before it’s time to nod off!
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