(NaturalNews) Snacking is often associated with unhealthy foods. The easiest foods to snack on are those that come out of a bag or box, and most foods that come prepackaged are heavily processed and full of unhealthy additives.
There are some foods that are easy to prepare, delicious to eat, and have significant nutritional properties. Two healthy snacking alternatives to store-bought potato chips and trail mixes are sweet potato fries and kale chips.
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B, and C are present in sweet potatoes along with manganese, potassium, and iron.
Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from damaging free radicals, is abundant in sweet potatoes. Protecting against free radicals is critical to health, as free radicals contribute to the aging process and many chronic diseases.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, containing four grams each on average. Fiber promotes proper digestion and increases satiety, making sweet potatoes a snack that actually promotes feeling full.
Sweet potato fries can be made by cutting up a sweet potato, sprinkling on some sea salt and olive oil and then cooking the cut up sweet potato pieces in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Kale's nutritional content is very impressive as well. Only one cup of kale contains 180 percent of the recommended daily vitamin A, 200 percent of the recommended vitamin C, and 1,020 percent of the recommended vitamin K. The extremely high vitamin K content in kale is conducive to keeping bones and tissues healthy.
Lutein and zeaxanthin compounds exist in high levels in kale, promoting eye health. Kale is doubly beneficial for eyes because of its high vitamin A content.
Kale chips are made by sprinkling sea salt and olive oil on the kale leaves and then cooking them in the oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes. The stems of kale can be eaten as well, but doesn't get crunchy like the kale leaves.
Many of the vitamins found in sweet potatoes and kale are fat soluble, meaning the body can make the best use of them if they are consumed with dietary fat. Olive oil is a healthy source of fat, making it an excellent addition to sweet potatoes and kale.
Snacking is an activity that most people engage in daily. Artificial foods are a common choice for in between meal eating, but they are often nutritionally empty. Sweet potato fries and kale chips are two snacking alternatives that have a lot more to offer from a nutrition standpoint.
About the author: Ben Hirshberg is a 21 year old student, author, and entrepreneur who studies the art of living well. Born and bred in Seattle, WA, Ben likes to read, cook, run, travel, and throw convivial parties. Ben has PFT, FNS, and YES certifications through WITS and NASM and is in the process of becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and achieving board certification in Holistic Nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. He also writes regular columns for Paleo Magazine and is hoping to release several books in 2014.
You can get his book A Simple Guide to Mindful and Intuitive Eating for FREE at www.BenHirshberg.com