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Healthy Snacks!
By: David Hagger

When seeking weight loss results, it is often advised to snack on healthy options such as nuts rather than pastry or dough snacks such as donuts or cakes, but considering that 50g of nuts and a jam donut both equate to around 300 calories, which is the best option for weight loss?
Nuts are high in calories and some people are afraid to eat nuts as snacks because of their higher calorie and fat content (remember these are good fats).
The difference between 300 calories worth of almonds and say a jam donut is that the nuts are a rich source of plant sterols and soluble fibre (which will keep you feeling full), they, and other nuts also offer an excellent source of vitamin E and are high in protein (good for stoking up the metabolism, repairing and building muscle).

Donuts are high GI which means they will create a large spike in blood glucose levels otherwise known as the 'sugar rush', which is then ultimately followed by a crash (usually comes in the form of head rolling and yawning at desk)!

Donuts offer no nutritional benefits compared to nuts. Walnuts for example are particularly rich in polyunsaturated fats and provide essential fats (those that the body can't produce) and omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linoleic acids).

Nearly all nuts are high in monounsaturated fats and offer an excellent source of protein and vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, selenium, and folate.

But, coming back to calorie content again, what you get with nuts is a real 'bang for your buck', great benefits that come with a fantastic low GI form of lasting, satiating energy.

Similarly, mixed grain bread with linseed or pumpkin seeds is a great source of wholesome energy, but 1 slice of this is around 230 calories. At the end of the day, portion control is fundamental. If you eat your way through 8 slices of 'healthy' bread you are going to hit problems and likewise with nuts.

A handful (yes 50g is fine) of nuts is a great snack between meals, but finish the whole bag and it's just become your next meal!

Interestingly, research has actually shown that nuts help lower cholesterol and may help to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Make sure you choose raw or dry roasted nuts without added salt because nuts such as honey roasted peanuts (with added sugars or fats) will provide extra calories and may contain saturated fats--so read food labels!

Added: 13-09-2011