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Picture a voracious beast gnashing down on anything fatty and puffy – a seal, a tourist, a doughnut – that happens to float by. That’s you, every day, around 3pm. Guys in the 20-39 age group consume 32% of their daily kilojoules in the form of between-meal treats – the highest snack intake of any demographic. Their targets: sugary and alcoholic drinks, chips, crackers, sweets, cake and pastries. But as you’re about to see, snacking doesn’t have to mean indiscriminate feeding. “Use between-meal eating to deliver nutrients you’re not getting otherwise,” says Willow Jarosh, registered dietician. Now let go of the seal.
WHY YOU NEED MORE: It’s the ultimate bone builder – and a nutrient that athletes are often deficient in.
WHY YOU WANT MORE: Calcium literally helps you move. It’s essential to the chemical reaction that makes your muscles contract. “Calcium also helps them relax better during recovery, which can prevent cramps,” says registered sports dietician Jim White. Plus, calcium aids in the release of hormones that play an important role in digestion and fat metabolism.
5 ways to help hit your daily 1 000mg:
Apple-cinnamon whip (210mg)
PurÉe ½ cup smooth cottage cheese along with ¼ cup slivered almonds and 1 tsp cinnamon. Then stir in a small handful of diced apple.
Chocolate-berry smoothie (321mg)
Blend together 1 cup chocolate milk, 1 cup frozen berries and 1 cup spinach.
Fig-almond power parfait (354mg)
Layer 1 cup plain yoghurt with 2 Tbsp sliced almonds and 2 diced dried figs.
Apricot and cottage
cheese pita (351mg)
Combine ½ cup cottage cheese, 2 chopped dried apricots and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Spoon into half of a wholewheat pita.
White bean and mozzarella salad
Mix ½ cup canned white beans with ½ cup diced Mozzarella, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
WHY YOU NEED MORE: The World Health Organisation reports that South Africans on average consume 228-285mg of magnesium a day, falling well below the RDA amount of 350-420mg for men. But a deficiency is seldom obvious, says registered dietician Ruth Frechman.
WHY YOU WANT MORE: Not sleeping well? An Iranian study found that magnesium can increase snooze-inducing melatonin. And British researchers discovered that the mineral can lower blood pressure.
5 ways to help hit your daily 350–420mg:
Nut butter slice
Spread 4 Tbsp almond butter over 2 slices wholewheat bread and top it with sliced apples and bananas.
Creamy green smoothie (134mg)
Blend together 1 cup milk, 1 banana, ½ avocado and ½ cup frozen chopped spinach.
Sesame edamame salad (126mg)
Mix 1¼ cups shelled edamame with 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar and 1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce.
trek mix (175mg)
Mix ¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds with 2 Tbsp dried cherries and ¼ cup unsweetened wholegrain cereal.
Kale snack wraps (140mg)
Mix ¾ cup cooked quinoa with ¼ cup black beans, 1 tsp olive oil, ¼ tsp chilLi powder and salt and pepper to taste. wrap in two large kale leaves.
WHY YOU NEED MORE: Apart from its role in preventing loads of diseases, vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium. Research in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that three out of four teens and adults are deficient.
WHY YOU WANT MORE: Vitamin D protects bone, maintains your immune system and builds stronger muscles. “It’s thought to influence gene receptors that determine muscle strength, size and endurance,” says registered dietician Kim Larson.
5 ways to help hit your daily 600IU:
+ Eggs (320IU)
Blend 240ml plain yogHurt, 1 frozen banana and ½ cup canned pineapple in fruit juice. Eat with 2 hard-boiled eggs.
Spicy tuna and
Mix 90g canned tuna with 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise and 1 to 2 Tbsp salsa. Serve with corn chips.
Egg, avocado and smoked salmon wrap (317IU)
Spread 2 Tbsp mashed avocado onto a 20cm wholewheat wrap; top with 30g smoked salmon and 1 sliced hard-boiled egg.
Creamy blueberry almond smoothie (156IU)
Blend 1½ cups Parmalat Milk Powder, ½ cup orange juice, 1 tbsp almond butter, ½ cup frozen blueberries, ½ banana and ½ cup ice.
Tuna and feta salad (203IU)
Place 90g canned tuna in a bowl. top with ½ cup chickpeas, ½ cup chopped pepper, 2 Tbsp feta, 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp red-wine vinegar.
WHY YOU NEED MORE: Potassium may be your most neglected nutrient. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a whopping 95% of men don’t hit their daily mark.
WHY YOU WANT MORE: Potassium keeps cells fuelled and functioning optimally by helping to move nutrients in and waste out. “Potassium also helps your body utilise the carbohydrates you eat; plus, it helps synthesise protein to help create muscle,” says nutritionist Tracy Gensler.
5 ways to help hit your daily 4 700mg:
Crunchy orange yoghurt parfait
In a small bowl, combine 1 cup plain low-fat yoghurt with 1 cup orange segments and 2 Tbsp chopped pistachios.
Coffee + crunchy banana (1 038mg)
Press 2 tbsp roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds onto ½ large banana so they adhere. Pair with a 340ml latte.
Smoky, cheesy baked potato (1 141mg)
Top a medium baked potato with 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar, 2 Tbsp salsa and 2 Tbsp plain low-fat yoghurt.
Chocolate, PB and banana shake
Blend 1 cup plain low-fat yoghurt, 1 banana, 2 tsp peanut butter, 2 tsp cocoa powder and a handful of ice.
In a medium bowl, toss together 3 cups baby spinach leaves, ½ sliced avocado, 1 tsp olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
By Matthew Solan