A Healthy Snack Attack!
By Marie-Annick Courtier, your Healthy Lifestyle Coach
March 02, 2017
Many of my clients have asked me to give them ideas for preparing healthy snacks from home. I have been told that they are either tired of the same thing, need to stay away from the high sugary grocery pre-packaged snacks, or want to learn shortcuts to quickly prepare healthy snacks for their family.
Most told me that they wish to be close to 150 calories for their snacks. Though such number is reasonable, know that such amount may vary based on how daily calories allowance are spread throughout the day, specific physical activity and personal needs. As I have always done with my clients, before exploring the preparation of snacks; we explore the difference between "snacking and snack", as it affects our health and weight. I will share with you what I heard from many.
To some people, snacking is eating out of control, with or without awareness of quantity, with or without a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. It is often caused by emotional distress and done, at any time, with or without friends and family members around. Guilt may or may not be involved.
Snacking is a bad habit that often lead to health and weight issues. Ask yourself, do you "snack" or indulge in "snacking" on various occasions throughout the day? If you do, I suggest you start thinking about it. Becoming aware of it is the first step towards healthier behaviors. Do some soul search, understand the causes of your snacking, and emotions attached to it. Eventually, you will see clearly what is happening. Then you will be ready to put in place strategies that will help you overcome such unhealthy snacking habits. Yes, a little discipline can go a long way for most people!
To some people, a snack is an occasional gourmandise or small treat which is often associated with pleasure. To others, it is a specific amount of food to control blood sugar levels or a reasonable amount of food to satisfy the awareness of hunger. Pleasure may or may not be involved.
Though there is nothing wrong with a special treat on occasion, one must be aware of such habit to avoid indulgence. The purpose of a snack is to replenishing the body with appropriate nutrients, so it can continue to thrive. It can be a scheduled and controlled amount of food to maintain the right blood sugar levels. A healthy snack can assist in the regulation of appetite throughout a day. It should be, reasonably, a pleasant experience that emphasizes eating healthy flavorful ingredients. There is no need to feel guilty about it, as long as it is part of daily calories allowance that serves the right purpose.
What is really a healthy snack? Well, it is one that provide the right amount of essential nutrients, supplies energy to the body, and brings on a general sense of well-being. It is one that takes into consideration all the foods that maybe consumed during a day, so a diet stays properly balanced. You may consider the following elements for creating a healthy snack:
1. Proteins, good sources of energy and the major building material for all body tissues. They also produce enzymes and hormones which regulate the body's functions. Examples: Legumes, beans, nuts, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairies.
2. Complex Carbohydrates, good sources of energy and necessary for the proper use of fats in the body. Examples: Whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
3. Healthy Fats, good sources of energy, supply essential fatty acids, carry fat-soluble vitamins and are indispensable part of every cell in the body. They also are excellent lubricant for the joints, help reduce inflammation, have a positive effect on sugar blood levels and, even influence the amount of fat stored by the body. Examples: Olive oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, fish oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil or walnut oil.
3. Vitamins, which are chemical compounds that help regulate the body's functions and fight infectious diseases. Pretty much found in an array of foods from fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, dairies, nuts and so on.
4. Minerals, which play an important role in the metabolic process of the body. Found in an array of foods from meats, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, whole grains and so on.
5. Fibers, which are important for the proper functioning of the digestive system. May reduce cholesterol, prevent cancers and help maintaining the proper blood sugar levels. Found oats, beans, lentils, peas, fruits, vegetables, cereals, brown rice and wheat pasta or breads.
6. Water, which is indispensable for the good functioning of the body. It regulates the body temperature, assists in the digestive process and transports nutrients and waste. Most food contain certain levels of water. Best source for hydration is, without a doubt, water!
Now that we determined some of the recommended ingredients of a healthy snack, let us explore some examples. Here is a list of quick easy snacks to prepare. Just as I would recommend to my clients, I suggest you establish a 3-weeks rotation system. Make a priority to meet your daily nutritional needs, while still enjoying some of your favorite healthy snacks. Feel free to mix, reorganize the list, and add your family favorites as well. Having a prepared list reduces the chances of getting bored with food. It also facilitates shopping and may help controlling food costs. Now to the samples list!
- An apple with a few walnuts and raisins
- 1/2 cup yogurt (regular or low-fat) with 1 Tbsp. almonds and sprinkle some homemade (no sugar or low-sugar) granola on top
- 1/2 cup yogurt (regular or low-fat) with slices of mango and sprinkled almonds
- 1/2 cup yogurt (regular or low-fat) with 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a drop of vanilla extract, pinch of pumpkin spices or cinnamon and drizzled with maple syrup( option)
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese (regular or low-fat) with 2 Tbsp. walnuts
- 1/3 cup cottage cheese (regular or low-fat) with ¼ cup berries and 1 Tbsp. slivered almonds
- 1 slice of whole wheat bread (toasted or not) topped with shredded dark chocolate mixed in a tablespoon of cream cheese thin out with a little milk. You can also add blueberries.
- 1/3 cup oatmeal with hot milk or soy milk (regular or low-fat), 2 tbsp. dry fruits (berries, raisins, apricots, mango, etc) and 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- Fruit shake with fresh berries, banana and nuts (optional). You may add milk or soy milk (regular or low-fat)
- Gazpacho (with an optional small amount of regular/low-fat milk or soy milk
- Carrot and red/yellow bell peppers sticks rolled in chicken/turkey slices and a little mustard
- An apple with 1 Tbsp. almond butter
- Apple with cinnamon flavored yogurt and 1 Tbsp. walnuts
- Cooked apple slices or chunks, 1 Tbsp. pistachios and orange zest
- Thick round apple slice, top with an orange slice, a thin coat mascarpone and sprinkled almonds
- 1/2 cup Edamame with 1 Tbsp. tapenade
- 1/2 pear filled with fromage blanc or thick Greek yogurt and topped with a few blueberries or raspberries
- 1 to 2 grilled pineapple slices (depends on thickness), topped with 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds and shredded coconut
- 1 Star fruit with a few nuts
- Waldorf salad made with apple, celery root, pineapple, walnut, lemon juice, and low-fat canola based mayonnaise or yogurt
- Homemade Rice cake or Popcorn (plain or with grape seed rather than butter)
- 1/2 cup red grapes with 1 Tbsp. walnuts, pistachios or almonds
- I slice of walnut or wheat or whole grain bread, a thin coat of low-fat cream cheese and 2 tsp. chopped walnuts
- Homemade applesauce plus 1 slice of walnut bread (optional)
- Homemade rice or tapioca pudding
- Exotic fruit salad
- 10 raw carrots or cherry tomatoes with 2 Tbsp. hummus or bean paste or crushed avocado (with lemon juice)
- 1 slice toasted wheat bread, a thin coat of fromage blanc or thick Greek yogurt, and shredded dark chocolate
- Celery sticks with peanut butter, chicken or tuna salad
- A thin slice of bread, cucumber slice, smoked trout or salmon, dash of sour cream
- Pumpernickel or rye bread with a thin coating of herb cream cheese, topped with smoked salmon
- Radishes with yogurt flavored with salad herbs
- Radishes with cream cheese mixed with shredded carrots, hazelnuts, and lemon juice
- Vegetables with yogurt flavored with horseradish
- Vegetables with tapenade or pesto or mashed avocado flavored with curry or anchovy flavored cream cheese
- Yellow and orange vegetables with pureed cooked spinach or collard greens mixed in yogurt
- 6 cherry tomatoes filled with mashed avocados and lemon juice
- Mini-fruit brochettes (can be drizzle with dark chocolate)
- Popsicle made from fresh fruit juices such as grape juice, orange juice, citrus juice, watermelon, melon, strawberry-kiwi, berries, or pomegranate
- 1 Crepe filled with freshly sliced fruits drizzled with melted dark chocolate
- 1 Crepe filled with preserves and fresh fruits
- 1 crepe filled with a thin coat of homemade Nutella and fruits
- 1 Crepe or wrap filled with cheese, spinach and thin tomato slices
- 1 small banana sliced topped with a few small chocolate chips and nuts pieces
- Salmon or Turkey Jerky wrapped with greens and vegetables
- 2 small round toasted bread slices topped with Vache Qui Rit, strawberry slices and blueberries
- 1 hard boiled egg with roasted tomatoes and greens
- 1 Tbsp. nut butter over a couple of celery branches
- 1 wheat bread slice with 2 tsp. nut butter and 1 tsp. grape jam
- 1 slice of your favorite bread topped with 4 avocado slices, feta and pomegranate seeds
- A couple of apricots or figs cut in half, sandwiched with some goat cheese or feta and sprinkled chopped almonds.
- Cereals mix with a serving milk carton
Here are some of my clients' favorite recipes
Berries, currant jam and Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp. red currant jam, 1/3 cup plain regular or low-fat yogurt, 1/4 cup berries, mint for decor
Spread red currant jam on bottom of a glass. Top with yogurt, berries and decor with mint.
Strawberries, Chocolate Chips and Yogurt (1 serving)
2 tsp. slivered almonds, 1/3 cup regular or low-fat plain yogurt, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1 tbsp. chocolate chips
Mix the yogurt with the flax seeds. Add the strawberries and sprinkled the almonds. You may substitute berries for the strawberries.
Fruity Couscous (6 servings)
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous, 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 4 apricots, diced, 1 mango, diced, 1 tsp. honey, 2 tsp. olive oil, mint to taste
In a saucepan, combine orange juice, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the couscous. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool completely. Place the couscous in a serving bowl. Top with diced apricots, mango, and sprinkle minced mint to taste. Refrigerate and serve very cold.
Chocolate Banana (4 servings)
4 small bananas, peeled, 2 cups your favorite dark chocolate, 1 cup crushed walnuts, almonds, or pistachios (or any combination), 4 sticks
Insert one stick in each banana. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave. Dip the banana in the melted chocolate and then into the crushed nuts. Enjoy immediately or freeze for a frozen treat.
Herrings Tartar (6 servings)
6 oz. red or white potato, 4 oz. herrings (jar), 4 radishes, 4 oz. apples, 1 Tbsp. salad herbs, 1 Tbsp. apple vinegar, Pepper to taste, Lettuce leaves
Place the potato in a pan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked through. Remove the potato from the water, cool, and peel. Dice the potato, herrings, radishes, and apples. Mix the apple vinegar with a little oil from the herrings jar, add the salad herbs, and season to taste with pepper. Pour over the tartar and mix well. Refrigerate for later use. Serve cold over lettuce leaves.
Option: For hors-d’oeuvres use Phyllo Dough cups. You can also substitute sardines for herrings. You can also add a little mustard to the vinaigrette.
You can also tightly wrap the tartar into lettuce leaves and then into rice paper spring roll wrappers.
Here is "Chef Marie" final tip!
When you are battling against one of those “snack attack” and, you know you should not eat; drink a glass of water or a cup tea (no sugar added). You can also chew on sugar-less gum, a mint or a licorice root chew stick. Licorice root last a long time and has very few calories.
Marie-Annick Courtier (also known as Chef Marie or Coach Marie), is the author of numerous healthy cookbooks and educational programs. Please see her STORE for more information. For your coaching needs, feel free to check her coaching realm site or contact her at 949-246-7781.