Snacks between meals are not bad for you. It is wise, however, to trade your bag of chips or candy bar for a healthier treat. A “healthier” snack consists of one with a combination of carbohydrate and protein or fiber. Adding a healthy fat is also okay to do, especially if you need to curb hunger for an extended period of time. Fat takes longer to digest and keeps you satisfied a bit longer than if you didn’t add it to your snack. A healthy fat would be a monounsaturated fat; examples include peanut oil in peanuts, olive oil in olives, and avocados.
The key is to avoid eating a simple carbohydrate like candy or juice which would give you a spike in blood sugar and stimulate cravings for more carbohydrates and promote fat storage. It’s also wise to avoid carbohydrates with added high saturated fats, such as potato chips, donuts or chocolate bars.
When you eat between meals, the very act of digesting the food or drink and the body’s use of those nutrients actually burns calories and promotes muscle maintenance and fat loss if necessary to maintain weight. The body has a natural tendency to maintain its status. Go ahead and eat a snack, then stay active to reach or keep your goal of a healthy weight. Here are seven snack foods to serve up.
- Pistachios and apple slices
- Hard-boiled egg and low-sodium tomato juice
- Strawberries and cottage cheese
- Banana and peanut butter
- Greek yogurt
- Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- String cheese and grapes
Serves 48 (2 tbsp each)
Active Time: 5 minutes | Total: 50 minutes
Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns; it adds subtle flavor to these pistachios. Look for it in the spice section at the market or with other Asian ingredients. Omit the added salt if you use salted pistachios.
All you need:
- 6 tablespoons Hy-Vee orange juice
- 6 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 cups unsalted pistachios
All you do:
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250 degrees.
- Whisk orange juice, five-spice powder and salt in a large bowl. Add pistachios; toss to coat. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer.
- Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
To make ahead: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Nutrition facts per serving: 92 calories; 7g fat (1g sat, 4g mono); 0mg cholesterol; 5g carbohydrate; 0g added sugars; 3g protein; 2g fiber; 95mg sodium; 159mg potassium.
Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.