mediterranean diet snacksHave you tried the Mediterranean diet snacks we discussed on our previous post? Well, true to our promise, here are some other healthy snack food choices that you can eat without feeling guilty about it!

Dried Apples
Did you know you can significantly improve your LDL or bad cholesterol level by regularly snacking on some dried apples? According to a report presented at the annual Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology meeting, women who ate about 240 calories of dried apples per day for a year achieved a 23% reduction in their bad cholesterol level. Additionally, the same women also showed marked improvements in their C-reactive protein and lipid hydroperoxide levels. If you are not aware of it, these two substances play a significant role in increasing your risk for a number of cardiovascular diseases.

As if these health benefits are not enough, eating dried apples can also help you lose weight. Studies show that women who regularly snack on a serving of dried apples lose an average of 3.3 pounds per year. Now, isn’t this quite an amazing discovery?

However, please remember to stick to the unsweetened variety to make sure you gain all of these wonderful health benefits. Now, if you want to prepare your own dried apples at home, here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to do it:

– Wash the apples and remove any bruised or soft parts.
– Remove the skin. (optional)
– Slice apples using a mandoline.
– Arrange the paper-thin apple slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
– Sprinkle with cinnamon. (optional)
– Cook in an oven for about two hours at 200 degrees. Make sure to keep an eye on your apples so they don’t get burned.

Kale Chips
Have you ever imagined yourself eating kale for snack? Well, it’s about time you consider the possibility, especially since kale can provide you with some of the most important nutrients your body needs. Experts agree that kale can help prevent the build-up of unwanted toxins in your body, lower your cholesterol level and reduce your risk for certain cancers (including cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate).

Kale contains significant amounts of vitamins A, C and K and is a very good source of fiber, vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and tryptophan. It also contains ample amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and E and is likewise rich in protein, omega-3 EFAs, iron, folate, magnesium and phosphorus.

If you’re wondering on how you can munch on some kale for snack, well, you simply have to cut the leaves into bite size pieces, taking care to separate the leaves from the stem. Wash the leaves, drain them and use a salad spinner to make sure they are thoroughly dried. Arrange the kale leaves on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt to taste. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges are brown (not burnt).

Medjool Dates
If you want to indulge your sweet tooth without setting your blood sugar or triglyceride levels on overdrive, then you should definitely try eating some Medjool dates instead. One serving of Medjool dates (about two medium pieces) will provide you with 10% of your daily potassium requirement and about four grams of fiber. Medjool dates are known to aid in the digestive process, serve as an excellent source of energy, improve the quality of blood and help regulate blood pressure and heart rate.

Additionally, Medjool dates also contain significant amounts of antioxidants so they can also help prevent and reduce the risk of certain cancers (including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrial, lung, pancreatic and prostate) as well.

So, the next time you start craving for some ice cream, try tossing some dates into your fruit smoothie or simply eat a serving of dates in a standalone manner. You’ll definitely love it!

Are you ready to try which of these healthy and nutritious Mediterranean snacks will satisfy your palate? Well, go on and try them all!

Here’s to a guilt-free snack,
Ray Baker