We've got great news: Snacking can be good for you. We worked with Elizabeth Stein, a holistic nutritionist and founder of the health food site Purely Elizabeth, to come up with some tasty treats that are not only satisfying and delicious, but good for your hair, skin, and body. Via ELLE
Carrots are considered one of the most nutritious foods because they promote healthy skin, teeth, and gums, have anti-aging properties, and can help cleanse the body. They are also filled with beta-Carotene, which protects the skin from sun damage, preventing wrinkles and spots.
For a snack, try them with protein-rich hummus. Just make sure not to overdo it with the portion size, and choose a brand that has as few ingredients as possible. Stein suggests trying Hope Hummus.
Avocados are loaded with over 25 essential nutrients and vitamins that act as skin antioxidants and can prevent free-radical damage. They are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help hydrate and soften your skin, as well as biotin, which helps prevent dry hair and brittle nails. Half an avocado will keep you satisfied and full. Just add a squeeze of lemon and a dash of sea salt for a little extra flavor.
Magnesium and zinc-rich pumpkin seeds are a superfood that promotes eye and skin health. They maintain collagen and skin renewal and contain "good" cholesterol (HDL), which can help with joint pain and headaches in postmenopausal women. They are also known to stimulate hair growth and protect from pollutants.
Apples are rich in vitamins and minerals and are a great source of flavonoids and polyphenols—both of which are powerful antioxidants. Tahini is 20 percent pure protein, which makes it an even higher protein source than most nuts. Honey is a natural sweetener. Making a honey-tahini dip is simple: Just mix together a quarter cup of honey and a quarter cup of tahini, and slice up an apple for an afternoon snack.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. They are also high in protein, which can decrease appetite and banish belly fat. If you want to make your own chia pudding, simply mix two-thirds of a cup chia seeds, two cups unsweetened almond milk, and half a teaspoon vanilla extract together. If you prefer store-bought, Stein loves a The Chia Co. Pod.
Greek yogurt is full of "good" bacteria, also known as probiotics, which are essential for a healthy digestive track and boosting immunity. It also contains lactic acids, which hydrate the skin. Berries are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which help diminish wrinkles, sagging skin, and discoloration. Berries also prevent toxins and free radicals from entering the body. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are great options for snacks during the day, especially on top of yogurt.
Kale is packed with nutrients, iron, vitamins, and minerals that promote healthy hair, making it stronger and shinier. Drizzling a little olive oil, sprinkling with sea salt, and baking kale leaves for five to eight minutes is a great way to get that crunch you might be craving at snack time in a healthy way.
The flavonols in at least 70 percent dark chocolate will help your skin protect itself from UV damage, fight free radicals, and increase blood flow. They can also improve skin hydration and thickness. A piece or two of dark chocolate is full of copper, zinc, and iron, which promote the cell renewal growth process. These minerals also increase oxygen and blood flow to the scalp, which leads to healthier and stronger hair. Plus, it's delicious.
Stein suggests NibMor's Daily Dose of Dark Extreme with cacao nibs, which studies have shown to have higher antioxidant levels than blueberries and green tea.
One cup of cantaloupe contains a day's worth of vitamin A and vitamin C, making it an ideal beauty food that promotes great skin and hair. It is also extremely high in water content, so it will keep you full and hydrated longer.
Nut butters are a great source of satisfying fiber and protein, which can help keep your body lean. They're also packed with manganese and selenium, which promotes healthy, shiny hair. The vitamin E in almond butter can also help protect your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays.
Stein loves NuttZo's Power Fuel, a seven seed and nut blend, which includes organic cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, flax seeds, hazelnuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.