7 Healthy Snacks for Gamers — And an Entire Category to Avoid
Video games and unhealthy snacks, like chips and cookies, are easily associated with each other. That is particularly because of the evidence that watching TV or playing video games can lead to binge eating and consuming too much of these types of foods, which, in turn, can negatively impact your physical health.
Most commonly, gamers who find themselves eating an abundance of unhealthy snacks while gaming will notice an increase in weight, especially if they’re not engaging in exercise.
Weight gain can open the door to a plethora of more dangerous health conditions, including increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and serious cardiovascular issues. In order to stay in top physical condition while still enjoying long gaming sessions, it is wise to practice a regular workout routine and swap out your unhealthy snacks for some of these nutritious foods instead.
Why Should You Avoid Unhealthy Snacks While Gaming?
Aside from the obvious health risks associated with unhealthy foods, these snacks are often full of empty calories, which means you’ll quickly become hungry again, causing you to overconsume. Plus, snacks like chips have little to no nutritional value, meaning that you’re intaking a high number of calories that aren’t actually providing your body with useful minerals, vitamins, or other nutrients.
While it’s okay to indulge in your favorite unhealthy snack from time to time, you should make a conscious effort to replace these nutrient-free munchies with more beneficial, and filling, snacks.
Types of Foods to Avoid
When determining which types of snacks to eliminate or reduce from your diet, you should try to avoid any overly processed items. Most processed foods contain a dangerous level of unhealthy fats, especially when consumed in large amounts. These fats, particularly trans-fat, are closely linked to increased chance of heart disease and can cause inflammation.
Added sugars are another feature of processed foods that are also known to cause heart disease, and many times these sugars can be found in products you may not expect to be sweetened, such as bread.
Whenever you’re trying to select healthy snacks to munch on during your gaming sessions, be sure to review the product’s ingredients and look for natural components.
Healthy Snacks for Gamers
Almost every type of nut can offer some nutritional benefit to your body. Some nuts are known to be high in protein, which will help fuel your body and satiate hunger. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and hazelnuts are among the nuts with the highest protein content.
Many gamers also enjoy snacking on seeds while playing — sunflower and pumpkin seeds being two of the more popular choices. Not only are nuts a great source of protein, but they are also high in fiber, which many processed snacks lack, and they are also associated with lower cholesterol levels.
Another excellent source of nutrition, protein shakes can be a filling and healthy snack for any gamer. With a protein shaker bottle, you can mix up shakes in seconds and easily sip on one without needing to pause your game.
Because protein shakes pack in tons of nutrients and minerals without many added calories, they can help manage your weight and encourage healthy eating habits.
In order to keep your body in top physical condition, you should be taking even a small amount of time each day to exercise, and protein shakes contain everything you need to power through a workout before returning to your console.
Pita Bread and Hummus
If you find yourself drawn to potato chips when seeking out your favorite gaming snack, then indulging in pita bread and hummus may just satisfy your craving.
Warm pita bread dipped in hummus, which is available with an assortment of toppings including red pepper, jalapeno, and caramelized onion, is an enjoyable snack. Derived from chickpeas, hummus is packed with protein and fiber as well as a list of vitamins your body needs to function.
Veggies with Different Dips
Though pita and hummus is a delicious combination for a quick, easy snack, some potato chip lovers may not be satisfied as pita bread tends to lack the gratifying crunch of a chip. Instead, replace the pita (or your chips) with veggies that can have that same crunchiness without the unhealthy ingredients.
Carrots and hummus are a popular combination or fill a plate with carrots and celery to dip into tangy ranch. Vitamin A, biotin, and potassium are among the many nutritious vitamins found in carrots, and the veggie’s antioxidant properties are said to help prevent cancer and other serious health conditions.
For those with a sweet tooth, frozen grapes are the perfect alternative to sour candies, eliminating unnecessary sugar and artificial ingredients. If you’re prone to binge eating while gaming, you should try adding frozen grapes to your nightly snack regimen.
Low in calories, frozen grapes can be consumed by the handful and still provide your body with important nutrients. Grapes are said to help prevent a number of health conditions, including cancer, eye diseases, and cardiovascular problems.
Fresh or Dried Fruits
Though fruits are high in sugar, they contain natural sugars that can be good for your body and that provide healthy nutrients.
Fresh and dried fruits are another great replacement for sugary snacks like candy. Some dried fruits are made with added sugar — you want to avoid these types if you’re looking to lead a healthier lifestyle — but many dried fruits become naturally sweeter in the process.
Bananas are easy to eat while gaming and contain high levels of potassium, which promotes bone strength. Citrus fruits can provide you with vitamin C and apples are a crunchy snack high in antioxidants and fiber.
Gamers who crave a sweet snack while they play should consider digging into a bowl of oatmeal when it’s game time. Though there is some added sugar to certain oatmeal packets, you can find brands offering less sugar that still provide a plethora of health benefits. Plus, you can easily eat your oatmeal while still maintaining your place in the game.
Oats are high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, which help to lower your blood pressure and lose weight. Select a tasty flavor like apples and cinnamon for a sweet snack that satisfies your hunger and benefits your health.
Editor's Note: Chris Gronkowski is contributing to GameSkinny through our guest writer series, where we provide a platform for thought leaders to share great ideas with you, the reader.
About the author: A former 3-year starter in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos, Chris Gronkowski is now the CEO of Ice Shaker. Ice Shaker has been featured on ABC's Shark Tank, Good Morning America, HLN morning express, Forbes, and others. Chris is the middle of the five Gronkowski brothers and has started writing about his athletic and entrepreneurial experiences.