Woke up feeling hungry, but not as bad as yesterday morning. I believe this was because I ate so much last night for dinner! I ate oatmeal, peanut butter, and milk again. I hate to say it but I am starting to crave sweets and sugar! Like I mentioned before, I normally eat brown sugar in my oatmeal, as well as other sweet things throughout the day like fruit, chocolate, granola bars, etc. My sugar cravings are rearing their ugly head this morning!!!
Today’s post was written by Theresa Gilson, DTR, Dietetic Intern.
Snack time can be challenging. Sometimes it is easier to grab that bag of potato chips than to search for a healthy alternative. What type of snacks does your family like to eat? How many snacks do you or your kids eat each day? What makes up a healthy snack?
Make snack time a success:
- An appropriate amount of snacks is 2-3 per day – between mealtimes, but be sure to eat the snack at least 1-2 hours before your next meal.
- For your children, it is best to offer snacks at routine times each day. It’s not a bad idea for the adults either! For example, if they eat breakfast around 7am, then a mid-morning snack could be offered at 10am and then lunch at 12pm.
- Keep it simple! Having about 2-3 food groups within each snack helps contribute to a balanced diet.
- Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. This can help children (and adults) reach their goal of fruits and vegetables for the day.
- Limit distractions during snack times – avoid watching TV, computer, or playing while snacking. This will help you eat just enough to satisfy your hunger, instead of mindlessly munching.
- If planning a summer adventure or traveling, you can pack a few healthy snacks for each day for the whole family to enjoy. You’ll feel better about what your family is eating and can save money, too.
Healthy snacks to keep in pantry/fridge:
- Fruits: Keeping applesauce, mixed fruit, or whole fruit such as peaches, pears, bananas, or apples on hand, allows your child to have healthy options, but also gives them the opportunity to try new fruit.
- Low-Fat Dairy options: Keep a container of cottage cheese in the fridge to snack on with some fruit. It pairs nicely with pineapple. Other good dairy foods – yogurt, a glass of milk, or low-fat string cheeses.
- Hard-boiled eggs also make a great easy snack. Prepare them ahead of time on a Saturday or Sunday evening and then you will have enough for the week! Just remember moderation- aim for no more than 7 whole eggs per week per person.
- Make homemade trail mix using a variety of whole grain cereals, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and/or granola. Make it fun – let the kids help measure and mix!
- Keep whole grain crackers and graham crackers on hand. These are great to combine with other snack foods such as a slice of low-fat cheese or dipping in hummus or peanut butter.
- Hummus is a great source of protein because it is made out of beans. Try dipping fresh vegetables such as snap peas, carrots, or celery in hummus for a tasty snack!
- Mix plain yogurt and peanut butter to make a delicious dip that everyone will love. Dip apples, celery, or other fruit into your yogurt/peanut butter mixture.
So remember, snack time can be fun and healthy!
- Plan 2-3 snacks per day
- Aim for 2-3 food groups within each snack
- Keep it simple
Enjoy successful snacking!
For more healthy snack ideas visit: www.eatright.org/kids
Written by Erin Passaro
Part of National Nutrition Month 2014
You’re probably sitting at your computer, looking at the clock and debating if you should read this blog post. However, despite how much time you have, in the hustle and bustle of this hectic American lifestyle, eating happens. Judging from the 2/3 of Americans that are overweight, this eating is not usually healthful. A lot of unhealthful eating is snacking which happens due to lack of time, resources, and/or ingredients. Traditionally, we think of snacks as being highly-processed junk food items however if you’re in a pinch, vegetable- and fruit-based snacks are the way to go. They are a delicious way to provide more nutrient-dense energy for your body, to get you through those long days while not making you feel bad about snacking. Here is a quick and very simple recipe I threw together this past weekend:
Edamame, Cranberry, & Feta Salad
- 1 12oz bag frozen, shelled edamame
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup low-fat crumbled feta cheese
- Splash of olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil and add the edamame beans, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Drain beans, toss with olive oil and add in remaining ingredients. Divide into snack-sized portions.
Edamame is composed of soy, so it provides a lot of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals with low caloric and fat values. Research shows that diets composed of vegetable proteins like soy are associated with lower cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. Despite all the health benefits, this snack still packs a lot of flavor, with the cranberries and feta cheese creating a mouthwatering combination of sweet and salty. The edamame, cranberry, and feta salad encompasses enjoyment of eating right, for the everyday, on-the-go American.
What kind of nutritious snacks do you indulge in on those busy days? Feel free to share your favorite snack recipes here for other readers!
Friedman, M., & Brandon, D. L. (2001). Nutritional and health benefits of soy proteins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 49(3), 1069-1086. doi:10.1021/jf0009246
Day 3: Full-time job
Breakfast was delicious – 2 egg omelet with leftover ground turkey and a handful of spinach ($0.40). I should eat like this every morning! My typical breakfast is usually toast, cereal, or instant oatmeal. Although I enjoy these foods, I love the idea of incorporating vegetables and more protein to my morning meal.
In an attempt to ration my food, I waited until lunch to eat again. After lunch, I planned for the ½ grapefruit but time got away from me and I was running late for a workout date with my husband. After lifting, I felt famished. I hadn’t felt like that in a while (I should have used these tips for Fueling up for Fitness). I planned snacks at the beginning of the week and it seems like I have plenty of food, however, it’s not “convenient” food. Most of what I purchased has to be prepared. This takes time. The other items like fruit, yogurt, and milk need to be rationed or I will be without for the last 3-4 days which will be even more inconvenient.
Even though I have enjoyed preparing/cooking meals and eating more unprocessed foods, it is definitely more difficult with a busy lifestyle. What if I had children or was preparing these meals for my husband, as well? It would be a full-time job!
After I devoured half of my grapefruit ($0.34; I saved a few tablespoons of juice for later) and leftover tuna salad, I cooked a can of kidney beans, rice, and spinach seasoned with salt, pepper and onion powder ($0.85).
The leftover grapefruit juice was later used to flavor the plain yogurt. I added cinnamon and used it as a dip for the other ½ apple from my tuna apple and carrot salad. It was simple and tasty ($0.57)!
Estimated Daily Total: $2.62
This day compared to MyPlate recommendations: