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The Art of Snacking Around

January 26, 2008
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NeahKahNie Mountain as seen from the beach in Manzanita

 “If we’re not willing to settle for junk living,
we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food.”

~Sally Edwards

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!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2008 9:29 pm

    Dana
    I like your new blog. In the snack area, can you give us a portion-size guideline? Some people, like me think “Snack” means keep eating until the bag is gone…

  2. ziabaki permalink*
    February 7, 2008 10:04 pm

    Hello Helen
    Thanks for the positive comment! Ya know, you brought up and really good point that has been wiggling around in my consciousness, and that is putting down the nutritional guidelines and portion suggestions for the recipes I post. I will start to do that next posting/article. Meanwhile, may I suggest that when snacking that you limit your snacks to let’s say 100 – 200 calories per snack. It is truly amazing how little it takes to abate the hunger and keep the metabolism purring right along. It is generally recommended that depending on your starting weight, your daily intake will be about 1200-1800 calories per day. Eating this range of calories, along with exercise, should allow you to lose about one to two pounds each week until you reach your weight goal weight. So depending on what calories that you wish to meet everyday, that is how you spend your snack calories. Another recommendation is to eat 3/4 calories on breakfast lunch and dinner and the 1/4 on snacks. Eating every 3 -4 hours increases the burn of the metabolism and sets things on fire! I have been amazed at how well it has been working for me. The liver actually NEEDS glucose every 3 -4 hours or it closes down the metabolism. So the trick, and it is a trick, is to eat your snacks to keep your metabolism going and your liver happy without going over your calorie goal for the day. One of my favorite snacks is 2 Tbls of Hummus with like 10 baby carrots. That comes to 110 calories and 3 grams of fat. Great fulfilling snack. Another fav of mine is one apple with 1 tbls of peanut butter, which comes to 165 calories and 9 grams of fat. That is a more substantial snack than the other but I like to eat that when I know I need a bit more to make it through till dinner. You know you are on the right track when you are getting hungry more often! Your metabolism is burning baby!
    Let me know if you have any more questions
    Thanks!
    Dana

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