33% of the people in the US are obese, and the percentage keeps increasing annually. Although obesity isn’t always related to unhealthy eating, fast food and sedentary lifestyles are responsible for many cases. Your hands will likely inch towards gluten when you try to avoid it, so getting some matzo might help. But is matzo a healthy snack?
Let’s backtrack a bit. Firstly no amount of eating adjustment can remove the need for activity. Obese or not, you need to become active to help your body. There’s also the problem of our relentless desire to snack.
Snacking it Up!
We snack when we are stressed, bored, sad, and even excited. Food often becomes a consistent source of comfort. Unfortunately, most of our go-to snacks are far from healthy. Hence, while they may give you a temporary boost in serotonin, maintaining this routine isn’t sustainable.
Faced with such a dilemma, you may reach for a crispy piece of matzo calling out to you. You may feel bad if you had decided to rely on healthy snacks, but is matzo as unhealthy as you think? Keep reading to find out the correct answer.
What Is Matzo?
Matzo, or matzah, is a thin, unleavened flatbread made by combining flour and water. It is light and somewhat crispy, making it ideal for pairing with other food items or having separately. Although the form of bread is now available worldwide, it is part of Jewish cuisine and has religious significance.
Matzo’s Jewish Roots
Matzo is a core part of Passover, a Jewish festival commemorating Israelites’ freedom from slavery in Egypt. The festival lasts for seven days, and, according to the Torah, God commanded believers only to consume unleavened food for the festival duration.
The command resulted in the creation of matzo, a bread form that does not contain any raising agents, like yeast. Jews celebrate Passover with zest, preparing delicious food, especially matzo, and eating with family each year.
However, matzo isn’t only made for Passover. It is a delicious bread, so people make it on other days to enjoy it as a snack or with other dishes.
Is Matzo a Healthy Snack?
Matzo is made from flour, so I’m sure you’re skeptical about how healthy it is. Your concern is valid. After all, everyone keeps looking at carbohydrates as the source of all evil. The truth is that matzo only has slightly fewer calories than white bread.
Hence it is only a slightly healthier carb than most when consumed in moderation. According to nutrition facts, one matzo (approximately 28 gm) contains 112 calories, 24 gm of carbohydrates, 2.8 gm of protein, and 0.9 gm of dietary fiber.
The problem with matzo is that it is not fiber-enriched, unlike other options. It has low sodium levels but very low fiber, no vitamin content, and barely enough iron and protein. Hence, unfortunately, matzo is not as healthy of a snack as we want to believe it to be.
Healthy Alternatives to Matzo
Passover is incomplete without matzo, so that remains unchanged. However, you can look for healthier snacking options instead of munching on the bread on other days. Some common alternatives include quinoa and almond flour.
You can also get saltine crackers for some indulgent snacking without piling on the calories. Matzo isn’t a healthy snack, so any healthy option will be a suitable replacement.
Benefits of Healthy Snacking
Healthy snacking is considered beneficial because of the several ways it supports your mental and physical wellbeing. Following are some of the top benefits you get from eating healthy snacks:
1. Kills Boredom without Worsening Health
Much of our snacking has little to do with hunger and is a distraction from boredom. Eating healthy snacks will ensure that you kill your boredom without consuming excessive fats, carbohydrates, sodium, etc.
These ingredients are common in snacks like chips, milk chocolates, and biscuits and can eventually cause severe health concerns.
2. Improves Daily Nutrient Intake
The best part about healthy snacks is that they are rich in nutrients. Whether it’s carrot and cucumber sticks or homemade granola bars, you’ll get ample necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber after consumption.
These nutrients are necessary for boosting your immunity, cell recovery, and similar health aspects and will be beneficial in the long run.
3. Boosts Energy Levels
Have you felt more fatigued recently and felt like you couldn’t concentrate on tasks? Unhealthy and sugar-rich food consumption can negatively affect your energy levels and slow down your cognitive functioning.
Eating healthy snacks will reduce sugar consumption significantly, helping you recover. You can also replace some of your sweet indulgences with seasonal fruits to get your sugar fix since the natural sweetness is not as harmful.
Tips for Healthy Snacking
Healthy snacking has the boring stigma attached to the health and fitness categories. However, you can make it fun using the following tips.
1. Use Diverse Nutrients
Firstly, do not punish yourself by having the same healthy snack repeatedly (unless you like repetition). Make an effort to choose different ingredients for snack ideas to excite your taste buds. The creativity will pay off.
2. Be Mindful of Portion Size
Even healthy snacks can become a concern if your consumption becomes excessive. Limit your snacking portion size to ensure you aren’t crossing your recommended nutrient intake for the day. A little indulgence is okay, but don’t make it a routine.
3. Pay Attention to Nutrients Instead of Calories
Lastly, don’t get caught up avoiding perfectly healthy snacks due to calories. Some snacks may have more calories than you like, but they are loaded with proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc. The best solution is to consider nutrients instead of making calorie-based decisions.
Our Final Thoughts
So, is matzo a healthy snack? No, it isn’t. But, there are plenty of healthy snack ideas you can explore to maintain your health. So stay determined and keep working towards your health goals. You can also read my other blogs to learn more about healthy food options.