There are no two ways around it: all firefighters love to eat. Regrettably, most of us tend to eat the wrong foods and, they do not “love us back.” Between negative peer pressure from fellow firefighters and “thank you” gifts from well-meaning citizens, junk foods, donuts, and other sweet treats always seem to make their way into the firehouse. Like vultures we swarm around these treats and snack on them throughout the day until regret eventually sets in.
We are here to tell you that there is a better way when it comes to firehouse snacking. But we won’t lie to you: healthy snacking is a matter of self-discipline and making better choices. The first and most important step in choosing healthier snack foods is to actually buy them. The second step is to keep them in plain sight and easily accessible. Simply put, the more we see them, the more likely we are to choose them.
In this article we will provide you with the top 5 healthy snacks that every firefighter should keep in their firehouse kitchen.
#1 – Nuts
Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, etc. are all great options for healthy snacks. Nuts provide our body with protein, fiber, and healthy fats–all of which help us to stay fuller, longer. Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips, grab a handful of nuts. When in doubt, choose nuts that are raw (unroasted) and lightly-salted.
To satisfy your sweet tooth after a meal, combine any natural nut butter with a bit of honey for a treat.
#2 – Guacamole
Mashing up some avocados into guacamole is another great snack choice. Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids which help to improve healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) within the blood and keep insulin and blood sugar levels under control for type 2 diabetes.
Eat guacamole with veggies or a normal portion of corn tortilla chips.
#3 – Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a satisfying snack because of its thick, creamy texture and protein content. As an added benefit, it also provides your body with probiotics which help to maintain healthy bacteria in your gut.
Instead of ice cream for dessert, consider grabbing a container of flavored Greek yogurt (i.e. – key lime pie, mocha, strawberry cheesecake). When possible, choose greek yogurt that is low in added sugar.
#4 – Jerky (Low-sodium)
Turkey, chicken, and beef jerkies are all excellent choices for snacks because they a relatively low in calories and protein-packed. When choosing jerky, select varieties that have a low-sodium content.
#5 – Fiber-Rich Fruits
With the Standard American Diet (S.A.D. for short), the vast majority of firefighters do not get enough fiber in their diets. Study after study show that individuals who eat plenty of fiber have lower risk and incidence of heart disease. And as we all know, the fire service is in the midst of a cardiovascular epidemic.
Go natural! Choose fiber-rich fruits to snack on: apples, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, bananas, peaches, and citrus fruits. Aim to consume 38 grams of fiber (men) and 25 grams of fiber (women) every day.
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