Snacking 101

Milch-Jogurt-Früchte-1024x669.jpg

There are a few different situations when it seems like time grinds to a screeching halt and minutes can feel like hours. For example,  holding a plank pose, waiting for someone you’re interested in to text you back, and that awful stretch of time between meals when you don’t know how you’re going to make it without punching someone or raiding the vending machine and mainlining all the Doritos.

The good news is, there is something we can do to satisfy our lust in the interminable time between lunch and dinner. It is called snacking, and it is awesome.

But what are some healthy snack choices that can keep us swimsuit ready this summer? I know it’s sometimes challenging to have nutritious treats ready to go, so I want to give you a few ideas.

One of the easiest things to always have on hand, either at your desk or in your bag, is fresh fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges come in their own packaging and and are thus extremely portable. If you want to take your fruit to the next level (I never thought that would be something I would say), add some nuts to the mix.

Have a handful of almonds, pistachios or walnuts with your fruit, or spread a tablespoon of cashew butter on it. Another super easy thing to make that’s quick and healthy is a smoothie. Personally, I’m partial to a smoothie of coconut milk, bananas, strawberries and pineapple. But hey, you gotta do you, boo. Find the fruit and protein mixture that you like, and try not to add Doritos.

If fruit isn’t your thing, or you just need some more variety, hummus is very satisfying. Just be careful what you’re eating with it. I have heard it said that hummus is a gateway food…to everything in your fridge! Try it with raw bell peppers, baby carrots or broccoli.

Other interesting pairings include hardboiled eggs with a little Sriracha, Watermelon drizzled with a bit of basalmic vinegar, or tomato slices with feta cheese crumbles and olive oil. Think of some of your favorite foods; focus on just what it is you like about them, then see if there’s a way to recreate with just a few ingredients and smaller portions.

Now, if you have a little more time and want to play around in the kitchen, here are three of my favorite things to make. I guarantee, these will be better for you  than anything you can grab from that tired old vending machine full of stale Snickers and powdered donettes…

 

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Nuts

Things you’ll need

1 1/2 cups raw almonds

1 1/2  to 2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

What to do

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cook the almonds in a non-stick skillet over medium heat for  about 6 minutes or until lightly toasted (keep ‘em moving!). Mix the rest of the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Add the honey mixture into the pan with the almonds and cook 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Throw the almonds around on the baking sheet in a single layer; let stand 10 minutes. Bust up any clusters.

 

Roasted Chickpeas: Sweet or Savory!

Things you’ll need

1 15 1/2 ounces canned chickpeas (also known as Garbanzo Beans)

1 tablespoon olive oil

For Savory:

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For Sweet:

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon sugar

What to do

  1. Get your oven heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to start with.
  2. Get a rimmed baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Drain and rinse your chickpeas and put them in a bowl.
  3. Throw your  oil, salt, and pepper (or oil, cinnamon & sugar) to chickpeas and mix well.
  4. Lay  them all out on your baking sheet in one layer.
  5. Bake ‘em off in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  6. Take the pan out and shake them all about! You want to ensure that the chickpeas brown evenly.
  7. Put them BACK in the oven for another 15 minutes until brown and crunchy.

You can enjoy these nice and warm fresh out of the oven, or keep ‘em around to snack on anytime!

 

Zucchini Chips

Things you’ll need

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan cheese (that’s around a ¼ cup usually)

A pinch of sea  salt

A pinch of garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons milk

2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)

non-stick cooking spray

What to do

  1. Get your oven cranked up 425 degrees Fahrenheit to start with.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a mid-sized bowl and toss together.
  3. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and then drag them through the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp.

Serve right away. They’re hot and crispy!