Decadent, Healthy Snacks for Fibromyalgia
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Decadent, Healthy Snacks for Fibromyalgia

Berries, ginger, dried fruit and even dark chocolate. If you have fibromyalgia, these are just some of the delicious foods you can include in your diet.

According to Wendy Bazilian, DrPh, MA, RD, you want to look for “foods that have the ability to cool the slow burning fire that causes inflammation in the body that creates pain—foods that have some analgesic or pain-reducing qualities. And you want antioxidant foods that reduce stress in the body.”

These foods, which include fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, become a virtual tag team to make you feel better, she says.

So, when it's time to splurge on snacks—and we all have those moments—there’s no reason not to go decadent and healthy at the same time. Plus, eating modest meals and snacks throughout the day, instead of a few large meals, also reduces stress on your system, keeps your blood sugar level stable and your energy up, notes EA Stewart, a registered dietician who deals with Sjogren’s Syndrome and fibromyalgia herself.

Stewart has a wonderful blog called The Spicy RD (www.eastewart.com) filled with delicious recipes that are often indulgent. Here are three suggestions she has for irresistible, yet healthy treats:

  • Dark Chocolate Trail Mix. On good days, gather up a selection of favorite types of dried fruit, a more modest amount of dark chocolate chips (the sugar in chocolate can have an inflammatory effect so don’t go overboard) and lightly toasted nuts to create a rich trail mix. Package them in handy sizes and store in the freezer to pull out for an easy pick me up on days when you’re dragging or in pain. Or take the same ingredients and melt the chocolate in a small microwave dish. Then add chopped nuts and the dried fruit. Spread on waxed paper and let cool for a trail mix bark that you can break up and store.
  • Creamy Berry Parfaits. Stewart also likes to indulge in berry parfaits—layering rich Greek yogurt, fresh or frozen berries and cinnamon streusel (cinnamon is a terrific antioxidant). To make the streusel ahead of time, combine walnuts, ground flax meal and cinnamon in a food processor until the nuts are finely chopped. You can store the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for when you want to use it.
  • Spiced Carrot Cake Smoothies. Sure, smoothies are a great bet for all those antioxidants and anti-inflammatories—but we tend to get in a rut and think just in terms of bananas, berries, fruit juice and yogurt blended with ice. But how about this thick and creamy version that features turmeric, ginger and cinnamon—each of which are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties?

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup sliced carrots, cooked or raw (to cook, microwave for about 3 minutes)
  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (light is fine)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup ice optional: 2 to 3 teaspoons maple syrup or other "sweetener" of choice to taste
  • 1 teaspoon each, divided, unsweetened shredded coconut and finely chopped pecans   

How to make them: 

  1. Place carrots, pineapple, coconut milk, pineapple juice, spices and ice in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and add sweetener if desired.
  2. Pour in to two glasses, then sprinkle coconut and pecans on top for garnish.