Summer is officially over—I just got a Thanksgiving invite the other day and I realized that the holidays are upon us. I have no idea how this happened; but before you start telling yourself it’s okay to snack on candy and eat cookies for breakfast, let’s line up some guilt-free healthy and nutritious snacks. Not only will they keep your weight in check, give you energy and keep your immune system in perfect working order—they taste great.
- Apple slices with almond or peanut butter –The added nut butter and the fiber in the apple will keep you satisfied for a long time.
- Totally tasty trail mix—Mix one cup dried fruit medley (cranberries, apples, cherries, etc.., ½ cup walnuts and 1 cup grape-nuts type cereal. Walnuts have the most omega-3, and the dried fruit gives you energy right away. Store in re-sealable bags and take some to go. Mix and match. Try dry roasted peanuts or pitted dates.
- Gather nuts–With a growing body of evidence supporting regular consumption of tree nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts, and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, a small handful of nuts is one smart snack. Containing healthy fats and appetite busting protein, one small handful is approximately: 20 almonds; 10 Brazil nuts; 15 cashews; 4 chestnuts; 20 hazelnuts; 15 macadamias; 15 pecans; 2 tablespoons pine nuts; 10 whole walnuts or 20 walnut halves.
- Baby carrots—Toss with toasted sesame seeds, 1 tsp olive oil, thyme, and kosher salt. Dip in store-bought or homemade hummus. As a base for any hummus dip, combine 1 can garbanzo beans, (I always rinse them to cut down on sodium), lemon juice, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the reserved bean liquid in a blender or food processor. Be creative—add cumin, jalapenos, roasted red pepper, or fresh herbs. Blend until smooth. Use cut up veggies or pita crisps as dippers.
- Roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans)—I LOVE these. Preheat oven to 450. Rinse and blot dry 1 can (12 oz) chickpeas. Toss with 2 T olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Spread on baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes until brown and crunchy. You can’t beat it–six grams of fiber, six grams of protein and cholesterol free.
- Honey-Broiled Grapefruit—Who says grapefruit has to be for breakfast? Preheat broiler. Cut 1 grapefruit in half, and spread 2 tsp honey on top. Broil for 7 minutes or until the edges are golden. Top with 1 T chopped walnuts. Sweet, tart, and juicy.
- Bean Dips—These dips make a great healthy snack for all you football fans out there. Just a wee bit healthier than buckets of KFC too! Click on this video link for an easy, fat free black bean dip packed with vitamins, protein, and fiber, and don’t miss this week’s featured recipe for a crowd pleasing White Bean Spinach Dip.
If you are seriously on the run, pop up a bag of popcorn, preferably air popped, or low-fat. It’s a natural whole grain food. Three cups of popcorn is a 1 oz. serving of whole grains, supplying fiber and complex carbohydrates. I like air popped, spritzed with a bit of olive oil and cajun seasoning.