Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Love Snacks? 无零食不欢?

Who doesn't like snacking all day long? You snack in front of the television; you take some nibbles to keep you awake before the examinations or during long, boring speeches; you snack during reunions.

Months later, you stood on the scale, and...

"AAARRRGGGHHH!!! I gained another 5 kilograms! I eat little, I skip meals even and move a lot!"

I believe most of you face this dilemma, right? I did. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight or simply to maintain overall well-being, snack REALLY matters! Snacks can actually add to your girth, blood pressure levels, blood sugar levels, etc. if done the wrong way. Done right, you can enjoy snacking while being in the perfect picture of health.

The list of snacks are, well, endless, particularly the unhealthy ones.

If you have a sweet tooth, instead of reaching for these:

  • Cendol (600cal/cup)
  • Ais Kacang
  • Nyonya kuih 娘惹糕
  • Skittles
  • Mentos
  • Other artificial sweets

Why not have these?

  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Fruit Salad 水果沙拉(nutrition depends on the fruits and dressing used)
  • Yogurt with berries 酸奶+莓果
  • Any fruit that is rich in fiber and low calories (So, no durian!) 任何富含纤维又低卡的水果(不要榴莲!)

I am a durian lover too, but one piece of durian flesh contains around 54 calories. Who stops at one?

I'd rather have 7 rambutans (7cal each) or 25 longans (2cal each) or an orange (45-55cal, medium size). Anyway who eats 25 longans??

If you crave for rich, creamy snacks, instead of reaching for these:

  • Ice cream
  • Cheesecake
  • Any dessert with coconut milk 有椰浆的甜品

Go for these!

  • Celery with peanut butter (or any nut butter) 芹菜+花生酱(或任何坚果酱)
  • Julienne vegetables with hummus dip 蔬菜条配hummus

You can spruce up your snacks with these add-ons too!

Rich, creamy and calci-yum! 浓郁+钙质
  • Cottage cheese 乳酪 (100g=98cal, 22% daily calcium DV)
  • Ricotta cheese           (100g=138cal, 27% daily calcium DV)
  • Sesame powder 芝麻粉(1 tbsp=9g=52 cal, 8% daily calcium DV)
  • Yogurt 酸奶 (Greek, nonfat) (1 c0ntainer=170g=100cal,18% daily calcium DV)

*You can use yogurt as a dip rather than eating the entire pot as well.)

Sesame has MORE calcium than dairy! Yippee! :D

If you crave for crunch, instead of reaching for these...

  • Popcorn at cinemas 戏院卖的爆米花
  • Fried chicken
  • Sandwich biscuits 夹心饼 (e.g. Oreo: 3pcs=140cal, main ingredient is SUGAR. Can you stop at THREE?)

Try these instead! They give you the crunch you desire while sneaking in nutrients too.

Soda crackers 苏打饼 (4pcs=120cal)

  • Choose crackers WITHOUT sugar and/or cream. The sugar and cream only provide empty calories without filling you up.
  • 选择没有糖霜和/或琪琳的饼干。糖霜和琪琳只提供卡路里,却没有饱足感。
  • Avoid crackers with SUGAR as the first ingredient.
  • 避免以糖为主要原料的饼干。
  • If you ever come across any biscuit labelled "9 grains", "chia seeds" etc. , don't be fooled into thinking that it is a guilt-free snack! Don't believe me? Try reading the label to see how much such nutritional stuffs are added in. The FIRST THREE ingredients are the main ingredients. You are better off eating the real stuff.
  • 假如你看到任何有“9 grains"、"chia seeds"等等标签的饼干,别以为这类饼干吃多也无妨!”不相信?看看成分吧。标签上的前三个原料既是主要原料。还是吃原装材料好了。

Nuts 坚果类
NOTE: Nuts are rich in protein and other essential nutrients, such as magnesium, iron and omega 3-fatty acids. Besides, they are rich in heart-friendly monounsaturated fats. However, they are calorie-dense too since they are primarily fat, so, eat in moderation.

  • Pistachio nuts 开心果
  • Almonds 杏仁
  • Walnuts 核桃
  • Cashews 腰豆

Vegetables 蔬菜

Some vegetables are nifty and have the crunch that you need! They are nutrient-rich and calorie-poor too, provided that you do not ruin them with heaps of sauces or worse, make them into vegetable tempura.

  • Asparagus (27cal/cup)
  • Carrot sticks 切条胡萝卜 (50cal/cup)
  • Celery sticks 芹菜茎 (16cal/cup)
  • Cucumber slices黄瓜片 (15cal/cup)
  • Corn 玉蜀黍 (77cal/medium ear)


Of course, for chip lovers, you can still enjoy the savoury crunch minus the fat and unpronounceable ingredients! (i.e. they must be BAKED with little oil and some seasoning for flavour)
  • Apple chips
  • Kale chips
  • Potato chips
  • Sweet potato chips

Tasty add-ons to snacks:
Spiced Dessert 香甜甜品
Cinnamon powder 桂皮粉
Honey/Agave nectar
Unsweetened jam 果酱(无添加糖)

For savoury flavour 咸香小吃
Italian herbs 意式香料
Black bean powder 磨碎黑豆
Miso 味噌
Ground peanuts 磨碎花生

Nevertheless, the best way is to SNACK ONLY IF IT IS REALLY NECESSARY, e.g. true hunger and post-workout. Snack in moderation too, preferably 1/3 the amount and calories of your real meal at most. Find other ways to get out of boredom or cure your emotions rather than snacking!


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