Making Good Health Fun

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Making Good Health Simple: Snacking – how to do it right, while staying healthy

Crystal Reynolds

Tuesday 27 Aug. 2019

Snacking. It’s a legit thing. Possibly even a lifestyle. You see, I can not live without snacks. I have them in the center console of my car, the pocket of every bag I carry, and a dedicated drawer in my office. For me, snacks have to be small enough to carry in my purse, yet substantial enough so I don’t get hangry.

Snacking is something different for everyone (example: if you ask my son, he’d say a cheeseburger is a snack). Your job, the shift you work, your age, (and a dozen other things) can dictate how many snacks you need. Your daily schedule also plays a large role in noshing between meals.

Here are my personal go-to snacks:

  • Almonds: I love the low-sodium sea salt Blue Diamond almonds. I have tried the raw almonds and I couldn’t eat more than three of them.
  • Grapes: I am a fan of purple seedless. Just make sure you store them properly, so they stay fresh longer.
  • Berries: I will eat any berry you put in front of me (especially if it is in a muffin).
  • Quinoa cakes (think rice cakes, but better): I will eat these plain or with almond butter.
  • M & M’s (yes, I said it): I like plain ones (preferably frozen).

Snacks you don’t have to make, bake, cook or slice are great. However, there are a few snacks that I love which require minimal kitchen skills. My No. 1 fave is protein balls.

Peanut Butter Protein Ball recipe:

  • 1 cup Peanut Butter (I use Teddy’s with flaxseed)
  • 1 cup Honey (I use local organic)
  • 1 cup Protein Powder (I use Plant based vanilla flavored)
  • 1 cup Quick Oats
  • 2 TBSP Chia Seeds (optional)
  • 2 TBSP Flax Seeds (optional)
  • To taste Chocolate Chips (Enjoy life)

I think the methodology is more important than the recipe. To get the honey and peanut butter the right consistency, I place them in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds and stir thoroughly. Then I add all the other ingredients except the chocolate chips (if you put them in too quickly, they melt). At this point you can change the consistency by adding a little hot water if they are too thick or adding in a few more oats if it is too thin. Depending on how pressed I am for time, I make them in several methods.

Quickest – Mini muffin tins. Throw in liners and scoop into the wrappers an voila!

Option No. 2 – Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour mixture into the pan. Take a second sheet of parchment paper, place on top and flatten out with a rolling pin. Cut into squares or bar shapes.

Best presentation option – Carefully scoop and hand roll each ball.

Keep the protein balls refrigerated (sometimes I freeze them if I have a big batch) and portion into snack-size bags.

True confession time. I also have a chips and salsa problem. I have to portion out both my chips and salsa or I will eat the entire bag. As much as the restaurant style chips taste good, there are many healthier alternatives. Try Beanitos bean chips. I know it may not sound appetizing. But seriously, don’t knock it until you try it. They have multiple bean flavors and doused in salsa you can barely tell. As far as salsa options go, homemade salsa is the best. You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to do this. You just need a good knife and some patience. Here is my favorite recipe for salsa:

Fresh Salsa Recipe

  • Fresh Roma Tomatoes – use the nice and red ones, avoid anything soft.
  • Canned Tomatoes – I like to use canned in addition to fresh because it gives the salsa a better consistency.
  • Fresh Cilantro – cilantro adds key flavor, don’t omit this!
  • Jalapeno – this adds a nice kick. If you don’t like heat you can replace it with 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, or omit.
  • Red Onion – yellow onion can be used here as well.
  • Green Onion – if you don’t want to buy both kinds of onions, you can omit the green onions and add just a little more red onion.
  • Garlic – it may seem small, but garlic packs a flavorful punch. Only use fresh garlic here for best flavor.
  • Lime – this really brightens up the salsa.
  • Chili powder and cumin – I don’t always add these but they’re a nice addition if you have them on hand.
  • Sugar – just a touch balances out the acidity of the tomatoes and lime.
  • Salt and pepper – the salsa would taste flat without the salt and the pepper adds a light kick.

Roughly chop the vegetables (and fruit if you want to get technical, those tomatoes).

Add vegetables to a food processor along with spices and lime juice.

Chop in quick bursts until it’s finely chopped up.

Don’t own a food processor? Salsa can also be made in a blender or you can finely chop up the vegetables by hand then stir everything together in a bowl.

No matter what you decide to snack on, try to make it more a product of nature than industry. Basically make sure that most of the ingredients (if not all) come from the ground and experiment in the kitchen. It can be more fun than you thought!

(Crystal Reynolds is an owner of 43 Degrees North Athletic Club.)

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