The Art of Snacking Around
“If we’re not willing to settle for junk living,
we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food.”
I have always held the firm belief that snacking is an evil right up there next to being a couch potato. My idea of this has been thankfully shattered since being recently introduced to smart snacking. Snacking has been villainized because most people choose donuts and potato chips to snack on instead of nutritious foods. Smart snacking can actually help you lose weight. Yes, it is true. There are a number of reasons to support this fact. First off, snacking helps to curb the appetite so that we don’t do bad things like eat the refrigerator or pig out while making dinner. (No I don’t have a web cam in your house.) Second, eating small meals or snacks every 3- 4 hours revs up our metabolism so we burn more fat. This really works! Try it, you’ll be amazed at how much it kicks the metabolism into gear. It’s a bit of a commitment to eat every 3-4 hours but very rewarding. Third, snacking brings a variety of foods into one’s diet and adds to eating enjoyment and satisfaction. One of the keys to successful snacking is planning. I know the “P” word, yet it is a great vehicle to ride in style towards our goals. Here are some great ideas for planning your smart snacking.
- Stock your house with quick grab items like fat free yogurt, raisins, baby carrots, baked chips and low fat sliced meats and cheese.
- Healthy low fat cold cereals like “Kashi Cinnamon Harvest” and “Peace Cereal, Hearty Raisin Bran” are great for a quick snack and a boost in fiber.
- Prepare a fruit salad with all your favorite fruits every week. In the winter, when the fruits aren’t as sweet, add a little honey and grated ginger to some fresh squeezed lime juice to toss the fruit in. Eat some of this topped with yogurt and you will be in heaven.
- Have some great tasting low fat microwave popcorn on hand to pop up at night when the will power is ebbing. “Healthy Choice” and “Newman’s Own” make great low fat popcorns.
- Have some substantial tea near and dear to sip on while you fix dinner or at night when you NEED something. Some of my favorites are “Good Earth’s decaf” and “Celestial Season’s Almond Sunset.” Add a touch of honey and milk and it feels like your having a treat.
- Take time on a day off and prepare snacks for the week. Slice some of your favorite vegetables like celery, carrots and sweet peppers to have on hand and prepare a dip to eat with them.
Here are some recipes to liven things up a bit. This first dip rated up there in the 10 something by my family. You can use it to dip veggies, baked corn chips or spread on a whole wheat tortilla with your imagination.
Cilantro Black Bean Spread
3 garlic cloves peeled
¼ cup of fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons of olive oil
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 can low sodium black beans drained
2- 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon of cumin
Get the ole food processor running and drop the garlic in and process till minced, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend till smooth.
I really like this next one, it is not only great with veggies but fantastic on sandwiches as a spread and incredible with baked spicy potato wedges.
Red pepper walnut dip
½ cup of toasted walnuts
¼ cup of raisins
½ cup of low fat yogurt or sour cream
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 12 ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers
Hot sauce to taste, I use Cholula.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and frothify till creamy.
Spicy Potato Wedges
2-3 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes , cut into wedges
1 ½ tablespoons of canola oil
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon of chipotle chili powder, depending on how spicy ya want them.
Toss potato wedges in the oil in a large bowl then dump into the pan of choice so that all the potatoes are on a single layer. Put spices in a small bowl and mix together, then sprinkle over the potatoes and toss yet again. Bake at 425 degrees, for 25 minutes then turn the potatoes, rotate the pan and bake for another 20 or so minutes. Serve with the red pepper dip and your taste buds will say yehaa!