• Week 7 Challenge: Make Over Your Snacks

    February 7, 2014

    If you’re at all like me, I go through phases with snacks. Basically, I’m really into one or two snacks for a week or so. I eat them all the time, but I eventually get bored with them and then it’s onto another snack. Of course, I have some go-to favorites that I eat time and time again, but I’m always on the lookout for new snack ideas.

    That said, this week’s challenge is to discover some new healthy snacks or make over your current ones. I know in the past, I’d eat low-calorie, low-fat snacks that I thought were healthy, but did absolutely nothing for my hunger level. I’d want something else to eat less than 20 minutes later!

    Over the years, I’ve learned that snacks with a balance of protein, fat, and carbs fill me up and satisfy me the best. I don’t really have a specific ratio or portion size in mind for my snacks—I pretty much just base them on my hunger level and activities for the day. But if you’re looking for a more concrete nutritional target, I found this “Optimal Snack Equation” on Real Simple awhile back that I thought was helpful:

    About 200 calories: This is enough to keep your metabolism humming, says Bethany Thayer, a registered dietitian in Detroit.

    At least 3 grams of fiber: Fiber is digested slowly and helps sustain your energy. It also absorbs water and expands in your stomach to keep you full.

    At least 5 grams of protein: “Protein releases a hormone in the body that increases satiety,” says Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian in New York City.

    No more than 12 grams of fat: This will help ensure that you don’t get more than 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories from fat, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommendation

    I included this snack equation because I thought it would help provide some straightforward guidelines for snacking, but, of course, we’re all different, and there’s no right or wrong way to snack. Personally, my snacks are closer to 300-350 calories, but I’m pregnant and honestly just like to eat. I’m also pretty active, so regular snacking makes sense for me. Be sure to do what’s best for you, and try not to get to wrapped up in the numbers. Instead, focus on nutrients and foods that will satisfy you.

    Some of my favorite go-to snacks:

    Homemade guacamole with rice crackers (the wasabi ones from Whole Foods are the bomb) and/or raw veggies (my favs: baby carrots, celery sticks, and cucumber slices) 

    087

    Yogurt with fresh fruit and Paleo granola

    berry-parfait-400x400

    A rice cake with nut butter and jam

    IMG_6918 (700x525)

    All kinds of smoothies (often with protein powder)!

    Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

    Sliced banana with nut butter, cinnamon, and raisins (or chocolate chips)

    sliced banana with peanut butter and raisins

    Other favorite snacks:

    • Hummus + raw veggies
    • Sliced apple + a thick piece of cheddar cheese
    • Sliced apple (or pear) + melted nut butter for dipping
    • Hardboiled egg with salt and pepper
    • Baked pear with honey (slice pear in half, bake for 30 minutes on 375*F, top with honey, walnuts and/or almond butter)
    • Celery + peanut butter
    • A Larabar microwaved for 15-20 seconds and eaten with a spoon just like dessert
    • Sweet potato wedges with melted almond butter drizzled on top
    • Vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt mixed with canned pumpkin and cinnamon
    • Salt & vinegar roasted chickpeas
    • Canned tuna mixed with relish or avocado (often eaten with rice crackers or celery sticks)
    • Apple and Pear Salad
    • Feta-Walnut Stuffed Cucumbers
    • Lemon-Glazed Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bananas

    Some posts that you might find helpful this week:

    Question of the Day

    What is your current favorite snack that is both delicious and satisfying? Please share! I love finding new snack ideas! 

    P.S. Nikki’s Coconut Butter is currently offering a special Valentine’s Day promotion: Get 14% off today through Sunday and your package will arrive in time for Valentine’s Day! Use coupon code ‘Valentine’ at checkout to receive 14% off the entire store!

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    { 49 comments… read them below or add one }

    Rachael February 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I’ve been loving a few clementines and a handful of almonds lately. Thanks for the other great snack ideas! I’ll have to try those salt & vinegar chickpeas – they sound interesting! :)

    Reply

    erica February 7, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    thank you! I so needed this post. I just came back from a trip and a 2week break from exercising….I’m finding it super hard to get back on the healthy wagon if you know what I mean.

    Reply

    RunEatRepeat February 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    My favorite snack right now is a tortilla with laughing cow :)
    And a dash of hot sauce of course.

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    Christina February 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I can’t stop eating cottage cheese (1%, no salt added) with mango. Over the summer it was with peaches but for now, it’s mango all the way. And I also can’t stop telling everyone else they need to eat it – it’s that good! :)

    Reply

    simply h² February 7, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Yum! I try to eat about 5 small meals a day and I love doing carrots with hummus.

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    Linda @ running4two February 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I have been OBSESSED with eating greek yogurt (usually strawberry) with crushed up chocolate Belvita squares. It is sooo good. :)

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    Meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles February 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Nothing satisfies me more than an apple with peanut butter. Roasted carrots with peanut butter are pretty good too!

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    Laura L February 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I made a huge list of good snack from your post, thanks!

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    Bethany February 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I tried the roasted chickpeas this week and loved them. I should have kept them in the oven another 5 minutes. This is like a treat snack peanut butter and fluff on saltine crackers.

    Reply

    Carrie @DietDeepDish February 7, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Right now I am loving plain greek yogurt with sliced banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter and a little stevia. Great ideas!

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    Becky February 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    This list makes me feel great about my snacking choices! I always doubt the healthiness of what I eat, but several of my favorites are on there :)

    Reply

    Anel February 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I like to munch on popcorn- not the store bought one, the one made on my stove- apples and peanut/almond butter, cucumber with tuna (cut the cucumber in half, spoon out the seeds to make a hollow “boat” and prepare your tuna and add it into the cucumber), crackers and cheese, carrots with hummus, the occasional bad of chips, granola bars, avocado on toast, trail mix with a piece of fruit, and …. that’s all that comes to mind right now.

    Reply

    Missy February 7, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I have been wanting to try Nikki’s Coconut Butter! Have you tried the Macadamia Nut Cookie? Like it?

    Reply

    Tina February 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    It’s delicious, but Vanilla Cake Batter is where it’s at!!!

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    Elizabeth @ Positive Change February 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I love celery and peanut butter! The best snack

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    Marisa February 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    A small bowl of coconut/chia seed granola with raisins tossed in

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    Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 7, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I’m a big handful of trail mix person. I also really love eating a full grapefruit. The time it takes me to cut out the segments (yes, I’m that person who does each one separately!) makes the snack stretch out longer. And when in doubt – some hot tea!

    Reply

    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun February 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    This is a great post! I love snacking it is one of my favorite things :) I love a handful of almonds or a rice cake with PB.

    Reply

    Kylie February 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Lets see…Toasted coconut almonds, Quest bars, Justin’s nut butter squeeze packs (200 cals each), Udi’s Cinnamon Raisin gluten-free bread with almond butter and sliced bananas…those are all my favorite snacks lately.

    Reply

    Tricia@ Balance In Progress February 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I am currently loving plantain chips with guacamole or garlic hummus.

    Reply

    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves February 7, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Yum! All of these look fantastic! My favorite snacks right now are dried figs dipped in plain Greek yogurt, freeze-dried edamame (so dang good), and homemade granola bars!

    Reply

    Afton at My Virtual Mission February 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I love that list of snacks! I’m really obsessed with anything pomegrante lately. It’s not a bad thing at this time of year, I guess! I’ll be sure to try out some of yours!

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    Christine (The Raw Project) February 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Wonderful snack inspiration here, thanks!

    Reply

    jen February 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I had peach Greek yogurt with trader joe’s maple pecan cereal the other day and it was to die for, thinking I need to get some more of that cereal!

    Reply

    logan February 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Please tell me you didn’t take those pictures?!? Those look amazing!!! I had to share this on pinterest haha. They make me hungry!! Those are meals that are healthy and taste good. What are the ingredients to that shake?

    Reply

    Livi February 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I am digging trail mix right now! I need to make it a little less sugary though.. love that chocolate !

    Reply

    Sarah C. February 7, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    The very optimum snack for me is 5 prunes and 12-15 (.5 oz) raw almonds. Together that’s about 184 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g protein and 5 g fiber (and the very best kind – the kind that really helps keep my system going, if you know what I mean!). That’s a snack that is simple to take with me anywhere, delicious, and actually filling – and keeps me full for a long time. Plus prunes have an amazing profile of antioxidants.

    Reply

    Elisabeth February 8, 2014 at 1:29 am

    I usually tend to eat the same snacks all the time. Some of my favorites are:
    -hard boiled egg, 1 oz of cheese, 1/4 – 1/3 c. blackberries
    -1 oz peanuts, 1 oz of cheese
    -3/4 c. soup (I always have soup leftovers in the fridge – usually turkey & bean chili)
    -1 – 2 oz cheese with Triscuits
    -green apple, 1 T. natural peanut butter
    -1 c. greek yogurt or cottage cheese topped with sliced almonds

    Reply

    Jenn@ Mark My Miles! February 8, 2014 at 6:17 am

    I love your balanced approach to food and fitness and life! It’s refreshing in the world of Healthy living blogs. Specifically, your words of “try not to get to wrapped up in the numbers. Instead, focus on nutrients and foods that will satisfy you”. SO TRUE!
    Thank you for the snack ideas!!!

    Reply

    Megan @ The Skinny-Life February 8, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Great list! My favorites are an apple with nut butter or black bean hummus with raw veggies.

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    Bezzymates February 8, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Raw vegetables with red pepper hummus is my snack fave these days

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    Jelena@ThoseLittleThings February 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

    I love chopping a bunch of fruit (last week it was pineapple, banana, and cantaloupe), and topping it with almonds and honey.

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    Sarahf February 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    @Jelena@ThoseLittleThings: that sounds amazing! Definitely trying that this week!

    Reply

    Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork February 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I am so bad. I have the same snack Every. Single. Day. Organic apple (because it’s one of the dirty dozen) with peanut or sunflower seed butter. How bad is that?! I am definitely in need of this challenge and I’m definitely liking the banana with nut butter, cinnamon, and raisins! Thanks for challenging me this week!

    Reply

    Amanda @runtothefinish February 8, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I love that breakdown of the perfect snack!! i agree i tend to go through phases, right now I’m still on a huge hummus and veggies kick

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    Karen - Fit in France February 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    My favorite snack is pistachios and a banana !

    Reply

    Alex @ Kenzie Life February 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I go through phases with snacks as well, but I’ve been in a real rut lately and haven’t been snacking much. If I’m in the mood for something salty, I grab a pickle spear. They might be kind of high in sodium but it satisfies a craving and has that crunch factor. Guacamole sounds so good right now though!

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    Sarahf February 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    These are great ideas! Sadly, hummus isn’t common here in Japan. I always feel so sad about the absence of hummus in my life! One day, I’m going to break down and just make some! I love almonds, cashews and raisins for snacks, keeps me going for a bit longer!

    Reply

    Ashley @ Snow Cream and Syrup February 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I <3 snacks. This is a very helpful list – I have always wondered if there is an "optimal snack equation" somewhere but obviously never bothered to find one.

    We love Greek yogurt but we usually just buy a tub of plain, unsweetened, which is thick enough to pass for greek-ish yogurt (maybe just Mediterranean, then) and is a lot less expensive. We do have a yogurt strainer that we use, too.

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    Karlee February 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I love sweet potato chips with goat cheese! so addicting

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    Ali Q February 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you for the great snack ideas!

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    Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye February 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I think the sliced bananas will be added to my list this week!! It’s taken me a little while to get used to almond butter, but I love it with cinnamon so this will be a great treat! I’m obsessed with smokehouse almonds lately. I only need a few to satisfy my snack craving.

    Reply

    Brittney @ Sweets 'N' Greens February 9, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    One of my favorite snacks is half an avocado, then I fill the indentation from the pit with honey and sunflower seeds.

    Thanks for sharing all your snack ideas! There’s some on there I need to try!

    Reply

    Molly February 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Lately my go-to snack at work has been a Dannon Light N’ Fit Cherry Greek Yogurt mixed with Shredded Wheat: Wheat n’ Bran or a banana lightly chopped/mashed and mixed with the same shredded wheat and a couple shakes of cinnamon. I also love 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt with strawberries, some dark chocolate chips, touch of granola, honey, some peanut butter Puffins, and cinnamon (has some “treats” – the Puffins, granola, and chocolate chips – in it so it feels decadent).

    On the weekends after a long gym workout/run I like to toast up a piece of sprouted seeds & grains bread and top with some peanut butter and a bit of fruit grape jelly with a banana and store bought green smoothie (just got a juicer and personal blender so I’m trying to figure out my own combinations for a healthier smoothie/juice).

    Also for a dessert snack I like coffee flavored Greek yogurt mixed with dark chocolate chips and unsalted, dry roasted peanuts. So tasty.

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    Rachel @ Health My Lifestyle February 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Since I started a vegan challenge I’ve been trying various dairy alternatives and I must say the Silk dairy free yogurt is delicious! It doesn’t have the sour/bitterness that Greek yogurt has. The blueberry flavor is my favorite. I like to throw some sliced almonds and/or fresh fruit on top for a snack.

    Reply

    Veronica February 10, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Hey Tina! I am a snacker and tend to eat smaller meals throughout the day focusing on food packed with nutrients, fiber, and low sugar content in order to keep up my energy and satisfy my hunger. I was wondering what you suggest for a post-dinnner/pre-bed time snack. I’m usually in bed before 10:30 but find the after dinner time leaves me hungry (I don’t do desserts). What do you suggest for an after dinner snack that’s both healthy but not heavy? Thanks!

    Reply

    Tina February 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I’d eat any of the snacks mentioned in this post! 😄 I guess it depends what you’re in the mood for. Yogurt and fruit, veggies and hummus, cheese and crackers?

    Reply

    Veronica February 11, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    @Tina: Thank you! Love your posts. I’m following a similar journey to yours a few years ago so making a lifestyle change is easier when you can follow the guidance of somebody who has already crossed the path :)

    Reply

    Jennifer February 11, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    So many great ideas, thank you!

    Reply

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