Five reasons why snap peas are a perfect healthy snack

Sugar snap peas are a great source of fibre and make a fast, delicious snack. Our recipe for sesame snap-pea stir fry is quick and easy to prepare.

Julie Daniluk

Early in May, my husband goes to work planting peas in a recycled claw foot bathtub in our urban oasis. I get so excited to join him for the first harvest in June. Growing food in your backyard has no better pay off than the first taste of peas snapped fresh from the vine. It’s amazing that something so sweet only has 14 little calories (for 10 snap peas)!

Peas are a perfect portable snack packed with manganese, vitamin C and folate. I think the snap pea is the ultimate variety as it has all the juiciness of garden variety peas and the soft shell of the snow pea. The good news is that this means less work for you because you don’t have to shuck them, and more beneficial fibre from eating the pod.

Five reasons snap peas are a great snack:
1. They can boost your immunity: These peas are high in beta carotene and vitamin A. Retinol, which is a derivative of vitamin A, plays a pivotal role in the development of our immune cells, which fight off foreign invaders and keeps us healthy.

2. Peas are good for your bones: Sugar snap peas are a great source of vitamin K, which has been shown to not only aid in the creation of new bone cells, but also helps prevent fractures and even some forms of bone cancer.

3. They’re the ultimate guilt-free sweet snack: Sugar snap peas have a glycemic index of five, which means that they won’t send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride and can aid in the prevention of diabetes. Low-glycemic diets also help decrease fat stores and discourage insulin resistance, so you can shed pounds while still satisfying your sweet tooth.

4. Snap peas help prevent fatigue: Sugar snap peas contain 18 percent of the daily recommended intake of dietary iron in one cup. Iron has been shown to reduce female fatigue, even in non-iron deficient women.

5. Up your daily fibre intake: Snap peas contain 4.5g of dietary fibre and 5g of protein per cup. A plant-based diet high in protein and fibre is the perfect recipe for a balanced weight-loss regime with long-lasting results. Snap peas can also be combined with lima beans to create a complete amino acid profile.


Sesame snap peas stir-fry

4 cups (750ml) snap peas
2 tsp (10ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5ml) ginger root, minced
2 tbsp (30ml) water
1/2 tsp (2ml) sesame oil, toasted
1/4 tsp (1ml) sea salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, black and/or white

1.   Trim the tip of each sugar snap pea.  Set aside.

2.   In large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat; sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant, about one minute.

3.   Add peas and water. Cover and steam until tender-crisp, about three minutes.

4.   Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil, sea salt and sesame seeds.
Makes four servings

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon-to-be-published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.

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