Snacking can take the hunger away every day

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Here is a timely and enlightening article written by my friend and colleague, Christina LaVert. I think you will find it enjoyable, too.


“Smart snacks — healthy ways to beat hunger”

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Each person’s taste buds are different, so how you snack may differ from your peers. Many people have their traditional go-to snack that they grab when they get hungry, but ask yourself if what you are snacking on is the best option for your body? Here are a few snack options as well as some healthier, guilt free alternatives to junk food snacks.

It’s always a good rule of thumb to keep a few go-to food items handy so when you begin to feel hungry, you have healthy options ready. This will also help you choose a healthy snack instead of reaching for chips or cookies.

Christina said “some of my favorite go-to snacks include, an apple or banana with peanut butter if I am craving something sweet, or string cheese or low-fat cheese and whole wheat crackers if I’m wanting something salty, or fresh veggies and hummus.”

Apple slices with a dollop of peanut butter is a great snack that will fill you up and knock out sweets cravings. It’s an easy and convenient snack that you can make quickly and take on the go with minimal clean up. If you are feeling adventurous, sprinkle cinnamon on top or add a few dark chocolate chips to your peanut butter. If you don’t like apples, or don’t want to eat an apple, make the snack with a banana instead.

Hummus dip with vegetables is a great option when you are hungry, but not wanting something sweet. It is simple and quick. Decide which vegetables you want to pair with your hummus, and you are set. Popular choices include sliced bell peppers, carrots, snap peas or celery. Those are just a few choices but the possibilities are endless.

For those with a more salty pallet, low-fat cheese and wheat crackers is an excellent snack. Depending on your mood, you can change the cheeses and types of crackers. Since it only uses two ingredients, there are endless delicious combinations.

A good rule of thumb is to snack in between meals when you are hungry. This also keeps your metabolism higher throughout the day and helps maintain energy levels. When snacking at night, pay attention to your body, and make sure you are snacking only when you are hungry, not because you are bored.

“It’s good to try to keep snacks between 100 and 200 calories when possible. Eating snacks that pair carbohydrates with protein will help you feel full longer, especially if the food is high in fiber,” she said.

If you can’t shake your craving for chips and dip, a healthier option is to make chip dip with greek yogurt. Combine the yogurt with ranch or french onion seasoning. For the chips, use vegetables, sweet potato chips or even a dried vegetables. This will cure your craving and leave you feeling better afterward.

If you can’t curb your craving for cupcakes or something extra sweet, try these no-bake cupcakes.

Combine in a food processor until well blended the following:

• 16 ounces dried white mulberries

• 16 ounce pitted dates

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan and put some of the date mixture into each cup so that the bottom and sides of the liner are covered. Next, place a dollop of almond butter or peanut butter in the center of each cup. Add more date mixture to form a top on the cupcake, enclosing the almond butter inside for a gooey center.

For frosting: combine 1.5 cups of raw cashews and 8 ounce of coconut water into your food processor. Blend to a frothy, whipped consistency. Spread on the cupcakes and enjoy.

Keep these snacks in mind next time you reach for a bag of chips. When you snack smart, you will feel full longer and you won’t crash after. Happy snacking.

“Happy Snacking!” Source: Christine LaVert, human nutrition diet and health extension agent.