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Healthy Fridays: Choosing Healthy Snack Alternatives

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Pinay Media Planner cares about your health, too. That's why we're continuing the series we started on health last Friday. So look forward to reading more features on health right here!

We've established that there's a need to choose better, healthier food. A fast-paced lifestyle is no longer an excuse to keep choosing fattening, artery-clogging, hospitalization-inducing fare. We've covered your alternatives for fast food meals, and now we're covering another dietary area that you should start putting a spotlight on: your snacking habits.

Most of us don't think twice about choosing the first chips we see on the aisles. We munch on them without a single thought about the sodium content, not to mention the health implications of sodium overload. This is actually pretty damaging to one's health, as a high-sodium, low-potassium diet can cause premature death. Though it's not statistically proven, night shift workers may be putting their bodies at greater risk, since they're too tired and stressed from work and don't give much thought to what they grab at the convenience stores.

That being said, there's a need to make better snacking choices. There's a need to choose to mind what you grab off the grocery or the convenience store. There's a need to stop making excuses like you're too tired or sleepy to care what you're snacking on.

If you're too busy on your workdays to make better decisions on your snack food stocks, how about shopping for food and snacks on your days off? That way, you'll be able to think things through as you choose your food. Then, start substituting the usual suspects of Mr. Chips, Chippy, even Marty's Cracklings or Nova (so-called "healthy" snacks) with healthier food.

Instead of those, how about keeping a stock of fruits in your office pantry and in your kitchen at home? Fresh fruit like oranges, peaches, nectarines, grapes are very rich in potassium. But if you want the fruits with the highest potassium content, the Avocado and the Banana take the cake. But that's not the end of it. Have you ever tried the fried "saging na saba" treats you can find on street food stalls? That banana relative, the plantain, has double the potassium of a regular banana. If you can tolerate eating it raw, all the better! Remember that ripe plantains have black skin, not yellow. Because of the plaintain's lower moisture content, ripening is slower.

Dried fruits and nuts also top the list in potassium content. Dried apricots, prunes, zante currants, raisins, dates, figs, and even dried coconuts have potassium levels from 543mg per 100g and up to 1.2g per 100g. If you want to replenish your body's potassium levels, nix the salt-laden potato crisps and load up on these treats. The fact that these are dried and possibly crunchy also adds to the snacking appeal.

A lifestyle change may take a bit of a learning curve and an adjustment at first, but it's worth it. It's worth it in the hospital fees you won't pay, and the longer life you'll live to enjoy the fruit of your labor, pardon the pun.

Here's to a healthier you!

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