Snacks and gaming go together like Nutella and Oreos, but often our snacks are pretty unhealthy, not only reinforcing the “Doritos and Mountain Dew” stereotype, but can lead to some serious health risks down the line. Today we're bring you 5 healthy snacks you can swap out if you are a snacky gamer - like me - just to keep our hearts from becoming sludge-pumpers.
What to swap out: chips, fries, or other oily potatoes.
As a general rule of thumb, whether you are buying plain rice cakes, or those that are flavoured with the might and fury of Robertsons Spice Range, they are a healthy snack. For one, the base ingredient is rice - *sarcastic insert here* - but they are generally baked or air popped so there is no MSG, trans fat, or other nasties to look out for - if you are concerned, just check the labels.
Peanut butter is a fantastic addition to rice cakes because they are an excellent source of healthy fats, which will keep you fuller for longer, as well as provide a sustained release of energy. What type of peanut butter is up to you but a healthy portion on each cake (about a tablespoon) should be sufficient.
What to swap out: sodas and energy drinks
Contrary to popular belief, flavoured water is healthier for you than any sugar-laden soda, soft drink, and especially energy drink. Yes, I chug Monsters like they are cool drink, and it is a guilty pleasure because I know it's pretty rough on my system.
Flavoured water is excellent because it typically contains fewer flavour additives, and a much lower concentration of sugar - roughly >10g per 500ml bottle - than regular soft drinks. Also, there are a bunch of different flavours on the market, and it is an easy to get more water into your system, if you are not a fan of regular H20.
Sugar free soft drinks and energy drinks are also not a bad option, however, they tend to use more synthetic flavour compounds to make them sweet, and include a punchy flavour profile, which can cause your digestive system some trouble. While not an explicit no-no, it is something to keep in mind.
What to swap out: sweets
Similar to the case with peanut butter, all nuts are amazing sources - one of the best, in fact - of healthy fats and fatty acids. Fats have always been given a bad rep because of their label, but in actual fact, they are one of the most essential nutrients that humans need. Healthy fats are involved in hormone balancing, cognitive processing, sleep cycles, as well as your metabolism.
Not to get too boring, but fats require a large amount of energy from your body in order to burn (9 calories per gramme), so they are incredibly slow digesting energy sources compared to carbohydrates, and simple sugars specifically. As nuts are rich in these fats, they are a marvellous way to keep energy levels high while limiting insulin spiking, which is what would happen if you simply ate a tonne of sugar. The type that you go for is, again, up to you, but we suggest a giant packet of assorted unsalted nuts, just for that variety. If nuts aren’t your thing, fruit is also a great alternative, as they mainly comprise fructose and not sucrose as their sugar-source.
What to swap out: crisps or chips
Popcorn is one of the healthiest snacks you can get, because they essentially have no calories compared to the satiety they provide. To clarify, air popping or pot-popping kernels is the best way to reap the rewards offered by delicious popcorn, especially with so many popcorn spices available from most grocers, as already-made popcorn is a little more sugar-dense.
However, if you look at the nutritionals, you will see that even microwave bag popcorn and the ready-made packets are rather low in sugar, unhealthy fats, and are typically free of MSG and trans fat. This already makes them a healthier alternative to standard chips or crisps. Best of all, popcorn is fun to munch, no matter the situation.
What to swap out: sweets or candy
Okay so I hear the argument here that what is the point of sweets if they are sugar-free, and I hear you. Though, this option is for those who - like me - have a sweet tooth and need something to substitute the sugar-rich treats with.
A great alternative is a sugar-free liquorice, or red liquorice. This gives the perfect feeling of candy to chomp on, without flooding your blood vessels with glucose. Though, again, any sugar-free candy will do the trick here but just be careful, as these can also mess with your gut a little bit.
What are some of your favourite gaming snacks? I am partial to the nuts and flavoured water option - nothing better than the Honey Melon Aquelle water with tree nuts.
Loves games with deep character development and a rich storyline. Also, shooty-shooties. Loathes microtransactions. Likes to use sarcasm and metaphors.
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