We got a great question yesterday about how to snack healthy. So, I’m going to try and tackle it for you today. Let me begin with a question. Why do we need to snack? The answer to this question should put you on the right track to choosing healthy choices for you and your family. Snacking is in a sense a mini-meal, something to keep you full and your metabolism going throughout the day. What your snack consists of really depends on your level of activity. The more active you are, the more you really do need a measured amount of carbs in your diet. Now, I love carbs! I really dream of moving to Italy, just so I can guiltlessly eat carbs all day with the rest of the Italians. But there does need to be a healthy balance of carbs, protein, fruits, veggies, and dairy in your diet. Since a snack is supposed to keep you full, I suggest trying to get protein into at least one of your snacks a day (I usually have two a day). Okay, let’s get to the practical answer of what to eat.
Here’s what we really enjoy eating:
- A sliced Apple with either Peanut Butter or Sharp Cheddar Cheese.–Eating an apple gives you a serving of fruit, and is very filling. Apples can actually give you as much energy as a cup of coffee, so if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, try an apple. The peanut butter gives you a serving of protein, and helps you stay full longer. The sharp cheddar cheese is a great way to get in some dairy. If you’re going for the cheese, get the good stuff. You want to be craving this good food, so get something you will really like. We suggest Tillamook’s Sharp Cheddar. Mmmm. You can even eat half the apple with the peanut butter and half with the cheese. This is also a great snack for kids.
- Protein Bars — I know what you’re probably thinking: Ewww. I understand. It’s true, there are some really gross protein bars out there, but there are also some really tasty ones. Some contain chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and more. I really enjoy the GOLEAN Roll! from Kashi. They come in several different flavors. I’m sure you can find one that you would like. They really aren’t too expensive. Also, we go to HealthKick in Lewisville, TX (corner of Main and 2499/Long Prairie Road) where they have a wide selection of Oh Yeah Protein Bars, among others. Ask Marty to help you find some tasty ones. They sell some great stuff in there.
- Hummus –Yummy! Hummus is easy to make, or you can find it ready-made in a grocery store. Eatzi’s in Dallas is one of my favorite places to get hummus. They have several different flavors that are fresh and delicious.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe to make Hummus at home.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 15 oz cans Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 2/3 cup roasted Tahini (this should be easy to find in your local grocery store)
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients, except for the salt, in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and salt as needed. Place in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld together for about an hour. You can eat it right after you blend it, but the longer its left in the refrigerator, the more the flavors mix.
For a more bold garlic flavor, try roasting the garlic before blending everything together. To roast, put a little olive oil in a small skillet, turn heat up to medium (not higher so that you don’t burn the garlic–because trust me, that’s a bad smell!) Either mince garlic or put through a garlic press. Place garlic into skillet and let cook, stirring constantly, until you can really smell the garlic. This doesn’t take too long, and you don’t want the garlic to brown. Take off the stove and place in the food processor with all the other ingredients to blend. If you decide to add more garlic flavor, think about adding some extra lemon after you blend the ingredients together. Taste before you do this, but the lemon compliments the garlic very well.
- String Cheese – this is an easy way to get your dairy and tide you over until meal time.
- Soyettes – Soyettes are roasted Soy Nuts. You can get them salted or unsalted (I recommend salted). They are good and pretty filling. I usually go with 2 oz for a snack. Sprouts sells Soyettes, and they are pretty cheap.
- Water – drinking a lot of water throughout the day is a good way to keep your stomach full, while at the same time staying hydrated and keeping your metabolism working. The Mayo clinic recommends 2 Liters (or about eight 8 oz glasses) of water a day.
We would also recommend our delicious Texas Caviar. It’s actually a recipe from Carissa’s family that they have loved for years. It’s a healthy and tasty veggie dip that even your kids will enjoy! We will be posting this recipe very soon.