Simple snacks for razor sharp thinking

Have you seen the snickers commercial with grumpy Joe Pesci?

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He’s handed a snickers bar, eats it and suddenly everything is better.

It’s a clever ad because we can all relate to feeling grumpy when we’re hungry.

But the snickers ad is misleading and doesn’t actually tell the full story.

A snickers bar or any chocolate bar for that matter will send your blood sugar levels shooting up. You will feel good for a time, but shortly after you’ll come crashing down. And when this happens, chances are you’ll feel worse than you did before.

In short, any snack food that is jam packed full of sugar and saturated fat won’t cut it in terms of providing you with long lasting energy and a stabilized mood.

Sure, I can understand that the thing about a chocolate bar or bag of potato chips is you can just grab it and it takes zero preparation or cooking on your part. These foods can also be really tasty (no surprises there, they’re full of fat and/or sugar). But this is a problem, as they drive you to eat more of these sorts of foods.

Associate Professor Tim Gill from the Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the University of Sydney states –

“They [snack foods high is fat, sugar and salt] all create reward responses in a part of your brain – you have it, you like it, you want more. So the most important thing, from my perspective, is to plan your snacks and have them with you”

Here’s the thing: there are dozens of snacks that are healthier, won’t result in obesity and the only requirement is that you extend you arm to reach for it, scoop it out of a container and/or chop it up.

What are these insanely simple and healthy snacks?

Here are 5 of my favourites.

1. Fresh fruit and natural yoghurt

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Any fruit that is in season is good chopped up with a couple of spoonfuls of natural yoghurt. Add some almonds for a bit of extra flavor and texture.

2. Vegetable sticks and dip (hummus, basil pesto, etc)

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Celery, capsicum and carrot can be a bit boring and bland on their own, but when served with a bit of hummus or a basil pesto, they go down a treat.

3. Fruit toast

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Fruit or raisin toast with a light spread of butter will fill you up.

4. Air popped popcorn

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There’s no need for a fancy popcorn machine maker or to buy the popcorn in the expensive microwavable bags (this popcorn is usually full of fat anyway). All you need is a brown paper bag, some (approximately 3 tablespoons) popcorn kernels thrown in, fold the bag a couple of times (you can even staple it at the top) and microwave for about 2 minutes. Open the bag carefully and season with a bit of salt.

5. A handful of nuts

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Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, etc. Take your pick. Studies show you can’t go wrong with a handful of nuts. In fact, if you eat nuts on all or most days of the week you can cut your risk of heart disease by 35%. Avoid eating too many peanuts or nuts coated in sugar though.

The key is to eat foods that are as close as possible to their natural state. Avoid foods that are heavily packaged and processed as you have no idea what’s actually gone into them.

If you think food manufacturers and fast food companies care about your health, then think again. For instance, the pink substance you see below isn’t strawberry ice-cream. It’s all the leftover bits of cow that have been treated with ammonium hydroxide (commonly used in cleaning products and fertilisers). This is an ingredient used in hamburger patties (not that long ago McDonalds used it in its hamburgers).

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Delicious, eh? I didn’t think so.

So in summary, if you want to be clear minded, less moody and have sharper thinking skills, then consider reaching for these healthy snack alternatives instead of a highly fatty and sugary snack.

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