18 Simple Snacks to Empower Healthy Living

by Alyssa Simpson, RD, CDE, CLT

This month’s issue is dedicated to snacking! Whether you are looking for a sweet snack, salty snack, or just an easy snack, this month I am providing you with real food snack solutions. Preparing and eating foods that fuel you will empowering you to succeed and is key to long term health and well-being.

A few simple things to remember when you are planning your snacks:

The simpler the ingredients, the better.
The simpler the transportation time from land to mouth, the better.
The simpler the prep time, the better.
The simpler the food, the better.

What is your favorite snack? Share with me today!

18 Simple Snacks to Empower Healthy Living

  1. Raw veggies and hummus. A few of my favorite raw veggies to pair with hummus include: red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and sugar snap peas.
  2. Fresh fruits and nuts and seeds. Get creative by mixing things up – clean eating is also about variety! Try pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds…just to name a few. Pair them with a variety of fruits such as berries, kiwis, oranges, grapefruit, apples, mangoes, grapes, bananas, peaches or pears…as you can see the list can go on!
  3. Greek yogurt mixed with herbs served with raw veggies. Try mixing nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh rosemary and serve with your favorite raw veggies such as cherry tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, and carrots.
  4. Pecans and dried cranberries.
  5. Fresh fruit smoothie made with frozen berries, almond milk, Greek yogurt, and chia seeds.
  6. Hard boiled egg with fresh fruit.
  7. Ezekiel cereal with Greek yogurt or almond milk.
  8. Smoked turkey breast topped with avocado and tomato slices.
  9. Apple or celery with almond, peanut, or cashew butter.
  10. Chicken lettuce wraps with bibb lettuce, avocado, and roasted red pepper.
  11. Sprouted grain bread with almond, peanut, or cashew butter and topped with fresh sliced strawberries.
  12. Fresh guacamole and veggies!  Forget the chips and try dipping red bell peppers, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes in your favorite guacamole recipe! Dining out? Ask the server if they will bring cucumber slices instead of chips.
  13. Cottage cheese mixed with fresh blueberries and sunflower seeds.
  14. Dark Chocolate. The darker the chocolate the better. Aim for 70% or higher for the most antioxidant benefits. If portion control is a problem, then avoid buying the big chocolate bar and instead go for pre-portioned squares of dark chocolate.
  15. Melted chocolate and fresh fruit. If you want to serve up a fancy sweet treat try melting some chocolate and then serving with fresh fruit such as strawberries, apples, bananas, and pineapple chunks.
  16. Trail mix with Greek yogurt. Take about 1/8 – 1/4 cup trail mix – the type with nuts, dried fruit, and a little bit of chocolate and mix with your Greek yogurt….yummy!
  17. Baked apple chips served with slivered almonds and topped with cinnamon.
  18. Whole grain chips with black bean dip.

Homemade Almond Butter

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole natural almonds, roasted*
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbs. almond or vegetable oil

Preparation:

In food processor with metal blade in place, grind almonds and salt until fine. While the food processor is running, slowly add oil in a steady stream until mixture is spreadable.

*To roast almonds, spread on an ungreased baking pan. Place in a 350ºF oven and bake 7 to 10 minutes or until almonds are fragrant; stir once or twice to assure even browning. Note that almonds will continue to roast slightly after removing from oven. Makes 3/4 cup, or 6 servings

Nutrition Info: Calories 130, Fat 12 gm, Sat Fat 1 gm, Mono Fat 8 gram, Protein 4 gm, Carbs 4 gm, Fiber 2 grams, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 0 mg, Calcium 48 mg, Magnesium 53 mg, Potassium 139 mg, Vitamin E 6 mg
– Click here to see more

4 Grab and Go Snacks I Love

We live in a very busy and fast paced society. Here is a list portable and easy to grab snacks:

  1. Lara bars.They are pure date, nut, and fruit bars. The ingredient list is never long or filled with fancy words you cannot pronounce, but the taste is delicious. I am sure you will find a variety that suits your needs.
  2. Orgain Nutritional Shakes.These ready to drink shakes are the perfect grab and go option for living a lean life on the road. If you are looking for a mini-meal replacement you could even pair this with a serving of nuts and you will have a 300 – 350 calorie meal that is balanced with carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
  3. 100 calorie packs of nuts. Pre-portioned almonds and walnuts makes clean snacking easy; add a piece of fresh fruit and you have the perfect snack.
  4. Pre-portioned natural peanut or almond butter such as Justin’s brand.If you love nut butters but struggle with portion control then these are the perfect solution for you. They can be found in pre-portioned servings anywhere from 90 – 200 calories a serving and are easy to add to apple or celery slices. Try mixing your favorite nut butter with Greek yogurt…talk about a delicious and satisfying treat!

Quote of the Month

“Those who have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness”

News and Events: Do you live in the East Valley and dread driving to Phoenix for appointments?  Visit me at the Mesa office on Mondays (by appointment); major cross streets are Dobson and the US-60. Phone consultations are also available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays if distance or travel time is an issue. You could have your nutrition consultation over your lunch break and not miss a minute of work!                                           Call (602) 422-9800 to schedule.

The Art of Mindful Eating

by Alyssa Simpson, RD, CDE, CLT

Mindful eating is practicing awareness. Being aware of what you eat, why you eat and when you eat is the key to staying mindful. Mindful eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. When you start to eat for your health it is easier to stick to healthy eating habits. Remember that looking and feeling good comes along with it. Working with a registered dietitian can help you learn how to transform your eating habits and behavior from a “diet” mentality to a more mindful approach to weight loss.

Start with these easy tips below to begin eating mindfully:

Build a better relationship with food. Learn to enjoy food and be mindful while doing it. Instead of just eating an apple, think about where the apple came from, the people who grew it, the way it tastes and the nourishment it is providing to your body.

Listen to your hunger cues. Ask yourself are you really hungry? You may find that you are eating because you are bored, stressed, anxious, or sad. Whatever the reason, find out what’s “eating” you? Understanding your triggers for emotional eating is the first step in changing behaviors. If you tend to eat when you’re stressed, find an activity to do to combat the stress rather than eating for comfort. Call a friend to vent, take a brisk walk, listen to music, do a yoga video, etc. Have an action plan in place so that you are not tempted to reach for that tub of ice cream.

Avoid distractions. Try to avoid distractions such as watching TV, reading or driving while eating. When you eat without distractions you are fully aware, in the moment and can focus on how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth, how your body responds to it, etc. Without distractions, you can pay closer attention to your satiety cues and know when you’ve had enough versus mindlessly eating through a bag of potato chips during your favorite TV show.

Take time during and after meals. To avoid eating meals too fast, try putting your fork down in between bites and chewing food thoroughly. Slowing down during meal time will allow your body to know when it is full. Have a planned activity right after you finish a meal to get your mind off of eating and avoid the temptation of eating further, such as taking a walk, washing the dishes, reading a book, etc.

Mindful eating takes practice to achieve. Remember to eat for your health, savor and enjoy your food. With time mindful eating will become a way of life. Diets are temporary and so are the results, but a lifestyle change will have the most beneficial impact on your health and well-being.

Commit to Eating Dirty in 2015

by Alyssa Simpson, RD, CDE, CLT

2015: Eat Dirty!

Kick off your New Year by eating dirty! That’s right eat dirty, a.k.a eat from the ground. Think about going back to the basics and eating the way Mother Nature intended. We live in a society that has become accustomed to eating foods from boxes, wrappers and packages. Have you ever wondered, “What am I actually eating?” The typical American diet, according to the reports published on the vitamaze website, consists of processed foods, which are high in sodium and calories but low in nutrients, often referred to as “empty calories,” since many vitamins and minerals are lost during the processing.

This New Year I challenge you to rethink your food choices and get back to nature! The best part about eating dirty is that it is easy! It is as simple as eating whole, unprocessed foods that come from the ground.

Ready to Get Dirty? Here’s How to Get Started: 

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is the best way to stay away from processed foods. The middle aisles at the grocery store are notorious for containing packaged foods and frozen meals that are highly processed and of low nutritional value. The perimeter of the grocery store contains foods that are in their most natural state, such as produce, dairy products, fresh meat and seafood.

Eat seasonal. Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure you are getting the most out of your produce. Fruits and vegetables that were picked when ripe generally have more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than the counterparts that were picked too early. Eating seasonally usually means eating locally too, so you will also be cutting back on your carbon footprint. And if that’s not enough, eating seasonally is good for the wallet too!

Visit the farmers market. Regular visits to your local farmers markets is a great way to eat locally and in season. Not only will you be eating for your health but you will also be supporting local farmers. It’s also a great opportunity to try new foods you normally would not see in traditional grocery stores. Make a goal to try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. Not sure how to cook them? Ask the farmer! A lot of times farmers at these markets have recipes and great tips for their produce.

The best way to incorporate more whole foods in your life is to keep them in full view and on hand for easy access. Have carrot sticks, apple slices or almonds prepared and in full sight, so the next time you have a craving you’ll be more likely to reach for these foods versus that bag of potato chips.

No time to cook when you get home? Try planning your meals for the week in advance. Have one day where you cook multiple meals for the week and freeze or refrigerate to have available during those hectic weeknights.

So this New Year don’t forget to get a little dirty and eat from the ground! Think simple and eat real, whole foods!

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