It's no secret that we all love to snack, especially after habits changed in a post-pandemic world. In fact, according to recent studies, more than 76 million U.S. snackers have found comfort in their favorite snacks during the pandemic. Whether you're working from home or in the office, having snacks nearby is essential. But what are the consequences? And are there better options to be had?
Many things changed after the global shock of the pandemic. Most people had to adjust (and re-adjust) their approach to food. Whether you were ordering groceries online, found yourself working from home, or looking to improve your quality of life by choosing to find better foods; it became increasingly apparent that the relationship we've had with food evolved (even if we didn't know it yet).
According to the 2020 Food & Health Survey, 85% of people have altered their food habits as a result of the pandemic. Factors like having young kids home from school or beginning new workout routines were huge motivators in the uptick of snacking. Like it or not, the pandemic changed our relationship with food evermore. Let's be honest, we've all Googled a food question like "how much protein is in a handful of almonds?", "what's good fat?", or "is dark chocolate actually doctor recommended?" At Ferris, we aim to keep our ingredients and formulas simple. Just the essentials. And a few of our products are ideal candidates for you to include on your next grocery run!
What is considered a "good" snack
There's a lot of ways to label something as "healthy" or "good for you" but it also depends on what you're looking for. All of our bodies are incredibly unique, each favoring one thing over another. The American Heart Association brings it back to basics: apples, bell peppers, popcorn, nuts and seeds, plain water. They also highlight snacks that are more likely to fill you up! Snacks like whole grain toast, fruit and veggie smoothies, or plan low fat yogurt.
Brain-boosting without a sugar-crash
1. Blueberries: An Antioxidant Superfood
Sweet, convenient, low in calories- what more could you ask for in such a small berry? Packed with antioxidants and flavinoids, blueberries are known to improve thinking and memory skills. They're also high in potassium and vitamin C, which is why they come so highly recommended. One cup (148 grams) of these berries will get you 3.6 grams of fiber and 16% of you Daily Value (DV) in Vitamin C! Whether you choose fresh, juicy blueberries or opt for the convenient tart dried blueberry- both will deliver benefits to you!
P.S. Did you know that the blueberry is America's National Fruit? Now you know. And the next time you're at a trivia game, you'll pull this clutch fact out of your back pocket to win it all and bring home the trophy!
Snacking blueberries on their own cubs a sweet tooth and topping your yogurt is another way to level-up your mid-day treat. One of our fan-favorite mixes is one we created with blueberries in-mind. We wanted these sweet little berries to be the star of the show, which is why we made our Blueberries Cranberries & Nuts mix! It's a win-win: fruits and nuts in one wonderful snack!
2. Nuts: They're like Nature's Candy
With so many to choose from, we firmly believe there's a nut for everyone. They offer a great opportunity to find what uniquely fits you and your tastes. High in nutrients but also high in calories & protein, they also offer a solution to satisfy your hunger! Be aware: some may have more heart-healthy nutrients than others. For example, walnuts contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Or just one Brazil Nut provides more than 100% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for selenium. Now that's nuts!
Here's some of the most commonly consumed nuts:
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
At Ferris, we offer most (if not all) of these nuts in various forms. Our jumbo cashews alone are available Roasted Salted, Roasted Unsalted, and Raw. Some are available on their own or we've crafted up amazing mixes that combine complimentary flavors into mega-nutrient mixes, like Forager's Mix or tropical Major Mango (which is raw and unsalted!) Of course, there's always the fan-favorite Cherries Berries & Nuts with Dark Chocolate. Bonus points because dark chocolate is doctor recommended! In addition to disease-fighting flavonoids, dark chocolate offers minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, according to the USDA.
3. Cherries: A Beloved Pastime Still Present
Similar to blueberries, cherries are bursting at the seams with vitamins, minerals and impressive nutrition. The high concentration of plant compounds in cherries may be responsible for this fruit’s many health benefits. Almost too many to list, here's some of the top benefits to cherries:
- Fiber: 3g in one cup improves digestive health by fueling your gut bacteria
- Vitamin C: essential for immune health
- Potassium: known to promote a healthy heart helping to regulate blood pressure
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds: great post-exercise relief or to reduce symptoms of arthritis and swelling
At Ferris, we offer Dried Michigan Cherries and Organic Dried Michigan Cherries in a convenient deli tub. We're proud to source and offer Michigan cherries since our state is home to the Cherry Capital of the world! Portable, packed, and easy to store in your pantry, cherries are an easy fruit to add to your diet in many ways: on their own, added to salad, smoothie, salsa, or top your yogurt!
4. Nut Butters: We Make 'em All Natural
We keep it simple; nuts + peanut oil + salt. If you're nutty like us, we might just find yourself scooping a spoonful and considering snack-time set. Besides apples, we're also big fans of dipping Dates into our nut butters! Naturally sweet with no added sugar, the flavor combination with a nutty butter is sublime!
- Peanut Butter: The top-selling and crowd favorite, it's loaded with so many good, health-promoting nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, iron, selenium and vitamin B6. Research shows that people who regularly eat nuts and nut butter, including peanut butter, are less likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Almond Butter: Since our almond butter is made from ground almonds, it has similar benefits as whole almonds. It's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in one delicious scoop. Almond butter has the most vitamin E than other nut butters, a great antioxidant that could help prevent diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.
- Cashew Butter: Although it doesn't contain omega-3 fatty acids, it's one of the best sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, essential amino acids, and magnesium. These nutrients are beneficial for blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol control, bone health, the immune system, and your metabolism.
5. Seeds: Small but Mighty
The nutrient profiles of seeds are also very similar to those of nuts. At this point, it will come as no surprise to you that seeds are a great source of fiber, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Boosting your nutrition is easy with these common seeds in your grocery store:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Poppy Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Chia Seeds
Struggling with how to consume more seeds without feeling like a bird? The good news is that you don’t need to make drastic changes to your diet. We think the best diet changes are the ones you hardly notice. Think about the meals you regularly make and how you can add in a sprinkle of seeds. Here's some favorite ways we like to cook with seeds:
- Add chia seeds to your favorite jam recipe
- Pumpkin seeds versatility allows you to cook them in many ways; roast them with coconut oil, honey, and cinnamon and you've got the perfect yogurt topper!
- Add the finishing touches to any salad
- Mix in with a favorite protein ball or freezer tart recipe
- Seamlessly mix them in with a blended smoothie
It's About Balance
Changing diets can be daunting. Sometimes it can feel like an uphill battle. Like we said before, small changes are good changes. According to a study by Michigan State University, healthy changes don't need to be drastic. Give yourself (and your gut) time to adjust to these new habits. Here's a few simple tips that can help you along the way:
1. Pre-portion your snacks. Instead of grabbing a full bag, weigh out those nuts and seeds into a separate bowl. Now when you're snacking in front of the tv, you can aimlessly enjoy the right amount.
2. Avoid trends and fads. Social media is swarming with celebrities and influencers trying to convince you of the next "big" thing, this includes healthy options. Be mindful. Know that there is usually a motivation behind when it being peddled.
3. Avoid the "All-In" Mindset. If you try to cut all sweets and junk food out, you most likely will slip up, we all do. But that doesn't mean failure. It's okay to indulge from time to time, just avoid those foods becoming habitual.
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