Snacking for Health

Snacking for Health

I don’t know about you, but I love to snack.  Booty camp workouts make me hungry!  However, my snacking habits are often based on the food I have laying around the house or something I can quickly purchase during the busy day.  You have to make the conscious decision to snack healthy. According to research by the USDA, snacking is a dietary behavior that has increased in recent decades in the U.S., and correlated in part, with the increase in the American population who are overweight and obese.   Snacking is typically associated with increased caloric intake and decreased nutrient intake.  But it doesn’t need to be that way.  When done right, snacking can be used to keep your energy levels up throughout the day and can provide an opportunity to get in all of your nutritional needs.  Here are a couple of snacks you can make in advance that offer a healthy and wholesome alternative AND will satisfy that craving.

Baked Kale Crisps

If you are craving something salty (like potato chips), try baked kale chips!

  • 1 bunch kale (rinsed and dried)
  • Coconut or olive oil
  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • Other spices to your taste (I like cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.  Remove kale from stalks and break into 2-inch pieces.  Massage oil, salt and spices into kale pieces until evenly distributed. Spread kale out over a baking sheet (you can use parchment paper or foil but not necessary). Make sure the pieces of kale don’t overlap.  Bake for 10-12 minutes (the amount of time will vary with each oven) until the edges of the kale are nicely browned and crisp but still green. If some kale chips are still a little flimsy or damp, remove the crisp chips and place the damp chips back in the oven for a few more minutes. Store in an air-tight container.

Kale Dusted Popcorn

Grind up or crumble your crisp kale chips on top of air popped popcorn for a variation on the snack.  You can add olive oil, salt, pepper, and the kale for flavorful toppings on your popcorn.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

Are veggies and hummus your go to snack?  It is a great healthy snack, but if you are like me, you are probably burnt out on hummus. There are a ton of great blended alternatives to hummus that offer the same amount of protein and nutritional value. Try making some white bean and roasted garlic dip as a sub to your typical hummus:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2  whole garlic heads
  • 2  (16-ounce) cans canellini beans or other white beans
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Prepare roasted garlic: Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

Blend it all up: In a food processor, combine the beans, roasted garlic, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the salt and white pepper. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Enjoy with your choice of crisp vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, snap peas, broccoli, etc.

 

-Contributed by Trainer Gina

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