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What’s the Plan? {Snack Edition}


Are you a natural planner?

Whether you call it discipline or a slight case of OCD, we happen to be planners.  And, we have found this very helpful when it comes to eating healthfully.  When we don’t plan, we tend to resort to the quick “grab-what-you-can meals and snacks,” which unfortunately aren’t usually healthy choices!

 

In our coaching tip, What Can a Nobel Prize Winner Teach Us About Eating Healthy?, we discussed the importance of making healthy eating the "easy" choice.

Snacks are a huge challenge - and a huge opportunity - for all of us.

They help us maintain our energy levels, stay focused and productive, prevent overeating at mealtime and satisfy our cravings.  But…how many times do you find yourself wanting a snack and you are surrounded by nothing but bad choices?  This may happen on the road (the closest convenience store or fast food restaurant starts calling your name), at work (the dreaded candy jar or vending machine), at the kids’ sporting events (the concession stand) or even in our own homes (grab a bag of chips or have a quick bowl of cereal).

While opening up a bag of M&Ms or grabbing a hot dog is super-easy, you can resist these temptations with just a little planning.  And, the best part is your healthy snacks will taste better, and the fiber and protein will keep you feeling satisfied longer (without the post-candy bar regret!).

Several studies have shown that snacking on processed foods (especially sugar and refined carbs) doesn’t fill you up...it actually leads to more…and more…snacking.  A much better plan is to ALWAYS be prepared with REAL food snack options!

So, if you are looking for some healthy snack ideas for yourself (or your kids), here are some ideas, including ideas for when you are on the go.  Maybe you have tried some of these, and hopefully there will be a few new ones to add to your routine and your plan!  (Print a list of the ideas below and keep on your frig for quick reference:  REAL Food Snacks Eat REAL America PDF)

Super (REAL food) snack ideas!

 

Reliable Stand-By's:

 

  • In-season fruits:  Apples, pears, oranges and grapes are great options -- as Zonya always says, "fruit is nature's candy!"  Apple slices with natural peanut butter (or other nut butter) is one of our "go-to" snacks.  Zonya recently learned from her soon-to-be daughter-in-law that if you warm up the peanut butter just a bit, it makes a fantastic dip for apples!
  • Ants on a log:  celery, peanut butter and raisins.
  • Nuts: a handful of your favorites.
  • Jerky (beef, turkey or others)…the fewer ingredients, the better!
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce:  with just a little effort, you can even make your own...check out our Super Cinnamon Applesauce -- it's delicious!

 

Just a little effort:

 

 

Just dip it:

 

 

Cool and refreshing:

 

  • Smoothies:  as simple as adding frozen strawberries, a banana, and milk to a blender.  Mix it up with your favorite fruits -- delicious as a quick breakfast too!  Recipes to check out:  Super Pink Smoothie and Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie.
  • Popsicles:  transform those smoothies into popsicles.  Or simply blend plain yogurt with your favorite fruit (add a little honey if desired), and freeze.  If you don't have popsicle molds, you can even make mini popsicles in an ice cube tray or using small paper Dixie cups and a popsicle stick.  Check out our Summer on a Stick! coaching tip for more ideas and inspiration!
  • Ice cream:  super-easy to make with flavor combinations like Chocolate Banana, Pina Colada and Mixed Berry.

 

Satisfy a sweet craving:

 

 

Satisfy a salty craving:

 

  • Air-popped popcorn:  fantastic alternative to microwave popcorn – just add a little olive oil and sea salt.  Popcorn is an excellent snack for road trips -- you can also jazz it up by making pizza flavored popcorn, a kettle corn version with honey and vanilla, or drizzling melted dark chocolate.
  • Roasted chickpeas:  depending on how long you roast them, you can make them super-crispy, or lightly browned and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  A delicious snack!
  • Edamame: you can find these packaged (frozen), ready to steam in the microwave, and then they are ready to enjoy!
  • Sweet potato crisps:  thinly slice sweet potatoes, add some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until crisp.  Parsnip fries are also a great idea, made the same way!  Recipes to check out:  Salt and Vinegar Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnip Fries.
  • Roasted cauliflower (or other roasted veggies):  you won’t believe how easy and good this can be!  Cut into bite size pieces, add a little olive oil, salt and pepper (and other favorite seasonings!) and roast for 20-25 minutes.  Recipe to check out:  Curry Roasted Cauliflower & Carrots or Broccoli Poppers.

 

Zonya Says...

If you have a tendency to eat MORE of a snack food than you wish, like popcorn or nuts, than try this amazing FIX...eat a fruit and/or vegetable with every snack.   Snacking on just one food can sometimes lead us to overeat.  Adding a fruit or veggie adds fiber and water content, not to mention the plethora of antioxidants and other nutrients, and it will satisfy that snack time hunger much sooner!

 

As you can see, there is no excuse for being stuck without good snack options!  For even more ideas, go to the Snack Ideas on the Eat REAL America website.  We hope this makes it a little easier to make smart REAL food choices when you need a snack, whether at home or on the go.

Do you have great-tasting REAL food snack ideas that make your life easier?

Please let us know so we can share with other Eat REAL America members!

 

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