Have you been snacking more frequently in the last year? Since the pakuromo started, I have had more snacks in my flat than I ever had and it has been a struggle to resist eating them. Salty, sweet, baking goods, crisps, biscuits, and chocolate, all of these, at some point, during this crazy season, have found their way into my mouth. At the beginning of lockdown 2020, I wasn’t buying them as I don’t really have unhealthy snacks stored in my flat. I’m a huge believer of the out of sight and out of mind mentality but somewhere down the line, when I got tired of being alone and not seeing people as well as not powerlifting, I sought comfort in snack foods. I didn’t realise what a sudden heavy consumption of sugar did to my body. I felt sluggish, I was breaking out a lot on my face and I gained extra weight that I did not expect.
My recklessness pushed my body to a limit. When I hit that limit, I knew that I needed to change. I knew that once lockdown was over, I would be going back into training and conditioning. My body was just not there and it was going to be a lot of work. I knew that I wasn’t going to stop snacking cold turkey. I decided to switch up my snacks I had in my flat, so even when I was snacking, they were relatively healthy and they made me feel good internally.
I want to put a disclaimer out here that there is no such thing as good or bad foods. Of course, some foods are more nutritious than others but foods should not be placed in categories of good or bad.
Choose snacks that make you feel good internally and give you more energy to get through your day. Here are some healthy snacks that I have had in my flat and still eat while prepping for my meets:
Dark Chocolate 78%
I used to hate chocolate growing up but luckily, I had an Italian roommate during my last year of college that got me into eating dark chocolate. I’ve never turned back since. Dark chocolate (68% and above) is one of my favourite snacks to get me through the day. I usually eat two squares after lunch or dinner to have a balance of sweet and savoury but let’s get into why it is a healthy snack. Dark chocolate is full of fibre and minerals such as magnesium, iron, copper, zinc etc. It is also a great snack to eat in moderation to reduce period cramps and it is full of antioxidants.
My favourite one to eat are:
- Frey Suprême Chocolat noir 78% authentique (Can find in Migros, Walgreens, Amazon)
Unsalted Cashew Nuts
I’m not a huge fan of salty foods so unsalted nuts is right up my alley. I love cashew nuts and walnuts. They are my favourite type of nuts to eat, I will only eat sliced almonds in my oatmeal or use them as decoration in my couscous. The texture of whole almonds throw me off so you will never see those in my flat. Any kind of unsalted nuts is a great snack to have at home and/or in your bag. I would recommend opting for unsalted as it will not put an unnecessary amount of salt in the body. They are low in sugar, rich in fibre and are considered as a healthy fat for heart. They are also packed with minerals such as magnesium and copper that help the body with energy production, bone health, brain health and building your immunity.
As a Nigerian, plantain is one of the things that I eat a lot. I prefer to have a big batch of them in the pantry so I can grab and enjoy them at my leisure. I may buy my plantain chips, shallow fry them or I may bake them myself, it depends on if I have the time. If you have an air-fryer, it will be more nutritious to fry them in there. They have similar nutrition values as a potato but they have more vitamins and minerals. They are rich in fibre, which will keep you fuller for longer, they have potassium, vitamin A, C and B-6. These vitamins keep your skin healthy and help with building your immune system.
I got onto eating popcorn as a snack in college. You may be thinking that eating a bucket of popcorn in the cinema may be a healthy option but it depends on how it was made and seasoned. When I was in college, I would usually buy my own popcorn, pop it in the microwave, lightly season it and sneak it into the cinema. I was a college student and popcorn is a lot more expensive than when I was a child. Popcorn is considered a wholegrain that is high in fibre and has a good source of antioxidants that help with blood circulation and digestive health.
Crunchy Honey Bars
I only discovered these bars earlier in this year when I was looking for a pre-workout snack. I don’t like to eat anything heavy before a training session, mainly because I train at 6am in the morning and I tend to have an intra-workout snack (usually sugary Hairbos for a jolt of energy). These crunchy bars are made with oats and honey which releases energy slowly and they are full of fibre which keeps me fuller for longer. By the time I’m done training, I’m ready to eat my next meal.
These are my five must-have healthy snacks. I switch up my snacks if I find something new that I want to try out. I’m always on the hunt for new snacks to try out so if you have any suggestions, please share them below. Remember that you can see everything that I eat in a day as an athlete and a powerlifter on my Instagram.