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Nutrition

Seven super-healthy (and delicious) snacks

Reaching for a biscuit or a chocolate bar might be tempting, but to avoid the sugar rush, subsequent energy crash and future inches around your waistline, choose one of these delicious health-giving snacks devised by Benenden Hospital nutritionist and dynamic dietitian Katie Peck.

“I like to think of snacks as mini meals that contribute towards our total nutritional intake of the day,” says Katie, who also runs Peck Nutrition in Kings Hill, Kent. “There are so many health-giving snacks that will leave you nourished and energised. Reserve refined sugar, high-fat, and -salt snacks such as chocolate bars and crisps as occasional treats. Make your snacks highly nutritious and have them if you feel hungry (not peckish) to tide you over to a meal.”

Here are Katie’s super seven snacks and the reasons why they’re great for your health:

30g cashew nuts and 25g dates
The benefit: Cashew nuts are high in magnesium and dates are high in energy from carbohydrate, and great to snack on if you need an energy lift.

1 sliced apple and 30g almond nut butter
The benefit: Apples are high in fibre, while almonds are high in vitamin E, which is good for your eyes and skin, as well as strengthening the immune system.

80g cucumber slices and 30g mature cheddar
The benefit: Cucumber is high in vitamin K – which helps the blood clot – and cheese is high in calcium, so is excellent for bone health. Keep the cheese portion small, as it is also a source of saturated fat and salt.

1 small banana (approx. 80g) and 30g peanut butter
The benefit: Bananas are a great source of potassium, which can help lower your blood pressure, while peanuts are high in manganese, which has the benefit of making and activating some of the body’s enzymes.

30g Brazil nuts, 1 square dark chocolate and 30g dried apricots
The benefit: As well as being a delicious combination, Brazil nuts give us selenium, which helps the immune system, dark chocolate is a source of iron, and dried apricots are packed with vitamin A, which is good for the skin and the immune system.

200ml low-fat milk, 1 banana and 1 tsp cocoa/cacao powder (blended)
The benefit: “I have this an hour before rowing training,” says Katie. The milk gives protein, while the banana has carbohydrates for exercise and cocoa powder is another source of magnesium, which is great before exercise.

30g dried prunes and 30g pumpkin seeds
The benefit: Prunes are high in fibre and have a laxative as well as an antioxidant effect, while pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which helps the body repair and process carbohydrates, fat and protein.

Katie Peck works with people going through weight loss surgery at Benenden Hospital and at Peck Nutrition, where she helps people by treating digestive health issues and weight loss without dieting.