Summer generally means eating less. Not necessarily drinking less (actually, often quite the opposite ;), but the sun comes out and often our appetites are suppressed. Surely it could be just the thought of putting on a bathing suit, but regardless of why, our usual plan for 3 meals plus a snack or two gets tossed aside. Often we are out and about more, whether going to the beach, the pool, hiking or biking. Instead of your usual balanced lunch, you are now skip lunch or grab a piece of fruit to ‘hold you over.’ The issue is when you return home at the end of the day and enter your kitchen, you suddenly realize you are starving. Now everything is a go — you are in the fridge, the pantry, the cabinets. Grabbing anything that looks good, but nothing is satisfying you. Therefore, you keep eating and eating. Now your light day just got really heavy. Next weekend, repeat.
Summer means going outside more, being more active, enjoying the sunshine☀️. Nothing is better than the amazing outdoor activities and fresh air, but planning ahead a bit to keep up with your appetite is key, when trying to stay on your healthy path. This is where tasty, nutrient dense snacks can make their way into your summer coolers, wherever your adventures may take you.
🍎 Apple Stack: Core a small apple and cut into 4 round slices, spread the top of the 3 middle slices with natural peanut butter, sprinkle cinnamon and no-sugar-added granola, and re-stack the slices into an apple shape. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
🌽 Protein Caviar: In a bowl, stir together equal amounts of canned, drained, no-salt-added black beans, canned or thawed frozen corn, and pico de gallo or jarred chunky salsa. Optional: stir in diced avocado or chopped fresh cilantro, season with a sprinkle of cumin or chili powder. Pack sliced cucumber, radishes, whole wheat pita chips, to scoop up and consume.
🍆SIMPLE BABA GHANOUSH
(also spelled baba ganoush or baba ghanou) is a recipe my father-in-law shared with me many years ago. In his beautiful memory❤️ I wanted to share with all of you today. This would be one to prepare earlier in the week when you have some time, and enjoy with some fresh veggies and whole wheat pita on the weekend.
2 red peppers
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons scallions or onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
Bake eggplants at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool. Slice in half and drain liquid. Scoop out flesh and mash with fork.
Broil peppers until skin in black. Cool. Peel and remove seeds. Mash with diced onions and garlic.
Mix with eggplant. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with veggies and pita chips. Makes 5–6 snack servings.
ARUGULA, WHITE BEAN AND TURKEY SAUSAGE SOUP
This tasty soup could be made the morning of your summer outing, or quickly prepped when back home. The leftovers are also a satisfying snack to grab, or do very well in a to-go container. Just as yummy consumed outside, at sunshine temperature.
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 lean turkey sausage, sliced into bite size pieces
2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of diced no-salt tomatoes, drained
1 pound arugula (you could go for spinach or watercress, if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium pot, heat olive oil. Add turkey sausage slices and cook for 5–6 minutes, until cooked through. Remove and keep warm.
Add garlic and pepper flakes to pan and cook for about 4 minutes, or until garlic is slightly browned. Add stock, arugula, beans and cooked sausage. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve is small bowls with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top.
Makes 6 servings.
MEXICALI SNACK SALAD, ANYTIME
Having a satisfying salad to munch on anytime, is a great way to always be prepared when hunger hits. I suggest storing in pre-portioned snack containers, for the least amount of effort when ready to indulge. This salad is quite versatile and packed with protein, for a tasty power punch. Get spicy with it!
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels sliced off of cob (or 1 15-ounce can, rinsed)
1 red bell pepper + 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2–1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. When breaking out for your snack, give a good mix to the salad. Add some passion hot sauce or any other desired spice, to your serving! Makes 6–8 snack servings.
Energy balls have become a hot snack item over the past few years. They are super easy to prepare, and a sweet and satisfying snack every time. These are gluten-free and perfect pre or post-workout. Warning: they can be addicting.
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Place chickpeas, peanut butter and honey in the food processor and blend for about 2 minutes, until mixture is smooth. Add cinnamon, vanilla extract, brown rice flour and salt and pulse until well-combined. Lastly, add in chocolate chips and pulse until combined.
Using a one-tablespoon rounded coffee scoop (or any tablespoon measure will do), scoop out about a tablespoon of dough and roll between your (previously well-cleaned) palms to form a ball. Place on parchment paper. Repeat until all of the dough has been formed into individual balls. Place in refrigerator for up to a week, or in freezer for up to two weeks. 1–2 make a satisfying serving for a snack. Makes approximately 20–24 tablespoon-size balls.
How to satisfy your cravings?
First, check in with yourself. IF you are really hungry, an apple should satisfy you. Does it sound like it might? If yes, you should go ahead and have the type of snack you desire or crave, healthfully of course. Here a few tips to help guide you through the snack wave, when various types of cravings may be rumbling through:
Looking for that salty crunch? Instead of potato chips or pretzels, try celery and peanut butter or cucumber slices topped with a light spread of cream cheese.
Savory sound more what you desire? Instead of finishing that leftover pizza, try breaking a slice of cheese into bite-size pieces and consume with a sliced apple or grab some veggies and 1–2 tablespoons of hummus or grape tomatoes and some mozzarella bites
Often the constant challenge, hunting for something sweet? Instead of diving into the cookie jar or candy stock, a low fat vanilla yogurt with blueberries raspberries — even a drizzle of honey on top OR half (or whole if super hungry) of a banana or apple with 1–2 tablespoons of peanut butter
Sometimes, it’s just easier to say yes to that extra snack or dessert, because frankly, it is just exhausting to keep saying no. ~ Michelle Obama
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