All Entries For snacks
Summertime is here and the snacking is easy. This is the season when the fruits and vegetables are just rolling into markets so healthy choices are both cost effective and delicious.
The best snacks for summer are simple: watermelon, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. -- just munch on them!
The 10 recipes below are for those of you who want to dress your summer fruits and vegetables up a bit. A few added ingredients, maybe a little heat, and you have healthy food that is tasty. Read More ›
Protein is an important part of any healthy diet and has been shown to help you feel full longer. But some of the best sources of protein like eggs, chicken and milk aren't easy to carry with you on the go. And having a healthy, protein-packed snack on hand for emergencies will prevent you from making bad food decisions out of hunger. I know that I've made some less-than-stellar snack choices when I've found myself at the gym a little longer than I planned and I start to feel shaky because it's been too long since my last meal.
Now, I always make sure I have a protein bar, nuts or beef jerky with me at all times. I just toss something in my purse every morning before I head out for the day and I never have to worry about getting caught without a great snack. So I was super excited when Pure Protein offered to send us some samples of their bars and powders to try. I've tasted many different types of protein products over the years and I admit that I'm a little picky. But I approached each of the Pure Protein products with an open mind and I'll share my thoughts about each one below.
Pure Protein Soft Baked Protein Bar—Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch
This bar has a satisfying crunch when you bite into it and a balanced chocolate and vanilla flavor like cookies and cream. The texture is less chewy than a typical protein bar. This would be a great choice for a first-time protein bar user or someone who thinks they don't like protein bars. I'm planning to add this bar into my regular rotation! With its balanced ratio of protein to carbs, this is a great bar to eat either pre- or post-workout. If you eat it pre-workout, give yourself about an hour to digest the bar before you begin. (Find them on Amazon.com and other fine retailers.)
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrate (5 grams of sugar, 4 grams of sugar alcohol)
Pure Protein Protein Bar—Chocolate Peanut Butter
If you're expecting a chocolate peanut butter cup, you'll be out of luck. But the flavor is a light blend of chocolate and peanut butter that most people who are fans of protein bars will really enjoy. The texture is chewy and smooth, which forces you to slow down when noshing this snack (that's a good thing in my book). With it's extra protein content, this bar would be great after a strength-training workout to aid in muscle repair. (Find them on Amazon.com and at Target, Walmart.)
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 20 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of sugar, 6 grams of sugar alcohol)
Pure Protein Whey Protein Powder—Vanilla Cream
The best thing about whey protein powder is how versatile it is. There are tons of great protein powder recipes that use vanilla protein powder to add a nutritional boost to things like pudding, yogurt and oatmeal. You can also mix it with water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk to make a tasty protein drink. Add fruit to make a perfect pre-workout snack. Since I usually do a combination of strength training and cardio in my workouts, I prefer to fuel with a protein shake before each workout because it's easy to digest and doesn't upset my stomach, no matter how hard I exercise. (Find them on Amazon.com and at Target, Walmart.)
The ultimate test for protein powder is to mix it with only ice and water. If it's drinkable in that form, then it will work well in just about any recipe. Blended with 8 ounces of water and two ice ice cubes, the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream was totally drinkable, if a little plain. The texture is smooth, not at all chalky.
Blended with two ice cubes and 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk, the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream starts to shine. It's much thicker, more like a milkshake but not overly sweet. For a more dessert-like option that really takes it into milkshake territory, blend the powder with two ice cubes and 8 ounces of vanilla almond milk.
For my final test, I tried the powder in my regular pre-workout fruit protein shake. The Pure Protein Vanilla Cream paired nicely with the tart berries. The vanilla flavor gave the whole thing the taste of a fresh berry cupcake.
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of sugar)
Megan's Pre-Workout Berry Protein Shake Recipe
8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Mix in a blender with one or two ice cubes. You'll need a straw for this super-thick shake!
Do you have a favorite protein shake recipe? Share it with us. Read More ›
I’ll admit it up front: I am a snacker. In fact, I have a snack twice a day. My body screams for food around three p.m. every day, even though I make a point to eat breakfast and lunch. If I ignore the hunger, I end up grabbing and devouring handfuls of chips or cookies as soon as I get home around five p.m. Therefore, I plan ahead and have a non-perishable snack stashed in my desk drawer at all times, usually homemade trail mix.
My second snack attack hits in the evening, and is not related to true belly hunger at all. In the evening, I want to eat food for comfort. You know what I’m talking about. At the end of a long day, all I seem to want is chocolate ice cream along with my favorite TV show, book or magazine.
There is nothing inherently wrong with snacking. In fact, snacking can help with weight loss by warding off afternoon and evening binge eating. However, the snack should be factored into your total calorie intake for the day, and should contain about 150 calories. A balanced snack should have about 15-30 grams of carbohydrates and three to five grams of protein.
Unfortunately, this type of healthy snacking is NOT happening in America, for children or adults. While I know you are probably not really surprised by this statement, you may be surprised at the numbers. Read More ›
My favorite snack of late is air-popped popcorn. A whopping 3 cups of air-popped popcorn is a mighty filling whole-grain snack yet only has 92 calories, plus 19 g carbs, 3 g protein, and 4 g fiber. But have you ever eaten plain air-popped popcorn? It can be rather bland and dry. As the saying goes, the secret's in the sauce. For under 150 calories, you can flavor your popcorn in plenty of ways. Salty or sweet, spicy or savory--it's up to you.
Once you've popped your popcorn, it's time for the seasoning. To get your dry herbs, spices and other seasonings to stick, you'll need a little liquid, usually in the form of a fat. A little goes a long way, but you can even have butter on your popcorn without going over 150 calories!
Wondering how these varieties stack up against the tins of gourmet popcorn we're all bombarded with during the holidays? While these all have 150 calories or less, the cheese, buttered or caramel versions can have up to 300 calories in a little more than a cup, with 18 g fat!
Let's get popping!
Read More ›
For my family, spring signals the beginning of little league baseball and a renewed level of busyness that makes staying on top of nutrition a bit of a challenge. Recently, I've been using berries, another spring/summer favorite, to keep my kids fueled up. Using a simple blender, I can have a tasty treat whipped up in minutes that includes many greens that my kids wouldn't normally eat.
Berries are sweet, but also contain a boost of disease-fighting antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. It's fun to hear my kids ask for a second glass, especially when I know it's loaded with spinach, kale, or chia or flax seed to add fiber, protein and healthy omega fats. I make it a goal to get at least three servings of fruits and vegetable in each smoothie I make.
When I see deal on berries, I buy double what I need and put half in the freezer. Then I can just pull out what I need, whenever I need it, and clean up is easy too: just pop the blender parts in your dish washer or hand clean with hot soapy water. Fuel yourself with berries and other great smoothies by trying these SparkRecipes. Read More ›
You know the drill – by the time the late afternoon rolls around, you’re starving and the office candy jar starts looking better and better. Save yourself the temptation and try one of these simple, healthy, and satisfying portable snack ideas instead.
A bonus: not driving home starving means much less temptation to hit the drive through!
- Medium-size fruit (or 1 serving dried fruit) with 1 serving unsalted nuts (any kind)
- Greek yogurt (just store a few in the fridge at work!)
- Medium-size fruit (banana) or veggie (celery, carrots) with 2 TBSP nut butter
- Tip: try buying the pre-portioned nut butter packets – easier to bring to work than a whole jar, and then you have portion control built in! They are usually sold in 100 calorie packets at the grocery store.
- 1/4 cup hummus with as many chopped veggies as you want (carrots, celery, peppers, etc.)
Read More ›
Keep your batteries charged well into the evening
Recharge the Right Way
If you feel a yawn coming on not long after lunch, you’ve fallen for the P.M. slump. Stay awake the healthy way with natural energy boosters. From simple tricks to smart snacks, getting back on track is surprisingly simple. Click through for the perfect pick-me-ups. Read More ›
If you've been struggling with the "no eating between meals" rule, you're in luck: in recent years, that diet myth has been debunked. Snacks are important, especially when are active or trying to lose weight. Go too long without eating, and your blood sugar will drop. Your stomach will rumble. You'll get grouchy--and you'll turn into the cookie monster (or the chip monster or the "will eat the first thing I find" monster).
However, it's easy to fall into a snack rut. If you're tired of eating the same old snacks, you'll love today's "Stuff We Love" list: I'm sharing some new-to-you foods you might want to swap into your snack rotation this year.
I keep snacks in my purse and car at all times to ward off hunger-induced grouchiness and overeating. Believe me: I'm a mild-mannered yogini and health food lover when I'm fed regularly, but when I am starving, watch out! I get cranky and will eat anything in sight! Read More ›
Are you traveling for the holidays? Chances are high that you are—AAA reports that 93.3 million Americans will be traveling between Christmas and New Year’s Day, which is a 1.6 percent increase from last year. And when you're traveling, you'll surely need road snacks to keep your hunger at bay. When you’re pressed for time on the road, you might stop by a gas station to grab a quick bite to eat. But beware—gas stations are home to many foods that are packed with sodium, trans fats and preservatives. However, if you look closely, you can find some decent options to meet your needs in a pinch. If you were to choose between a package of trail mix and a stick of beef jerky at a gas station, which is the better choice to refuel you on your trip? Read More ›
Back in the 1980s when I was playing high school and college sports, there weren’t a lot of healthy options when my teams would travel to tournaments or meets. Standard options at concession stands included hot dogs, chips, candy, and soda. Back then, bottled water was nowhere in sight. McDonald’s was the typical bus stop choice on the way home because they were the only fast food chain coaches could count on. Meals were burgers that came with fries and a soda. To substitute milk for the soda would cost you extra and courtesy cups for water were the size of three ounce Dixie bathroom cups. Many times my mother would send me off with a snack of nuts and raisins or orange segments to try and balance things out.
My college volleyball coach selected Wendy’s as her restaurant of choice when we were on the road each weekend because they were the only fast food option back then with a salad bar. Coach didn’t pay for soda, fries or desserts like a Frosty out of the team budget, which helped a little. However, it was still a choice of a hamburger or the salad bar as our meal option. Today we know that not every salad bar is diet-friendly but back then only the nutrition majors like me knew the strategies for salad bar survival.
Unfortunately not that much has changed today. Busy lives continue to make healthy eating a challenge for a young athlete. Weekday practice schedules cause families to grab Food on the Run on their way to the next event. Parents spend weekends sitting at soccer and football fields or ball diamonds causing children options like “walking tacos,” candy or chips from the concession stand or the after game snack provided by a team parent.
With snack food and hectic schedules continuing to influence young athletes for several decades, it isn’t any surprise that an article published online in April for the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that parents tend to be dissatisfied with the healthfulness of food offerings at youth sport settings. Here are some tips to help keep your young athletes active and healthy at the same time.
Read More ›
I have 3 kids with completely different personalities, but one thing is for sure—they’re all messy eaters. Like most moms, cleaning up after their mess becomes never-ending and frustrating. There are several things I do to make snacking less messy, especially when I’m on the go. Hopefully these tips can clean a little mess out of your life. Read More ›
I often see articles about the "best pre-workout snacks" to eat. But how many people really require one? If you’re going out for a walk or a bike ride or playing a little tennis, you probably don’t need to eat before you go. Many people just assume that they need a snack when it’s really not necessary.
So when should you eat a pre-workout snack? If it’s been several hours since your last meal, you might want to eat a little something, especially if you’re starting to feel hungry and/or low on energy. You also might want a snack if you’re going to be doing intense exercise for more than an hour. If you have a health condition, such as low blood sugar or diabetes, you probably need a pre-workout snack but talk to your doctor to see what’s best for you. Read More ›
Editor's Note: This is a new series about how to re-create some of your favorite healthy foods at home.
Granola bars are a healthy on-the-go snack, but some packaged versions contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and sweet ingredients that negate some of that nutritional benefit. This homemade granola bar recipe includes whole grains, natural sweeteners, healthy nuts and dried fruit, with protein and fiber to keep you going. Even better: The recipe is super adaptable. You can adjust the amount of brown sugar to suit your taste, and add any combination of dried fruit you like, or omit the fruit. Neither rock-hard nor super soft, this crunchy-chewy granola bar lives up to its good-for-you reputation. Read More ›