nutrition

Why You Shouldn't Give Up Snacking...

{a book review, a recipe, and a GIVEAWAY}

 

I love snacks. I'm the kind of person who needs to eat every couple of hours. Smaller meals throughout the day seem to work best for me (but this doesn't mean it's right or what works best for you).

Snacking can be part of a very healthy diet as long as it's incorporated appropriately. Not only does snacking help with weight management and increasing energy levels, but also can improve our metabolism, reduce sugar cravings, and improve blood sugar control.

While so many of us are snackers, snacking can also be super challenging. I find it's often clients downfall in reaching their health or weight goals. I know how it is, all you have to do is walk by the kitchen and the chips and crackers are screaming your name. It can be so easy to over do it on snacks when they aren't planned out or balanced. A little prep and planning is key!

Fellow dietitian, Sarah Koszyk, recently published a book that I love and highly recommend: 365 Snacks For Every Day of the Year. Whether you're a planner or a mindless muncher, this book is for you. 

In her book, Sarah goes into detail about the benefits of snacking with a ton of (365!) amazing recipes and snack ideas. She explains the components of a healthy, satisfying snack (think protein and high fiber carbohydrate) and provides tips for planning healthy snacks for your whole week. Sarah helps take the effort out of planning and prep to make healthy snacking easy, affordable, and delicious- because why can't corn on the cob or cucumbers and cheese be a snack?

The book is broken down into sections with recipes and ideas for wherever you go:

Snacks At Home
Snacks At School or Work
Snacks On the Go
Snacks At a Convenience Store
Snacks For Your Sweet Tooth

Snacks At a Convenience Store is my fave. Nowadays, we all think we're super busy and find ourselves eating on the go more than ever. If we don't plan ahead, we frequently end up at convenience stores or fast food joints to fill the void. When we think of convenience stores, many of us jump to potato chips and candy bars. There are now more and more choices to make healthy eating possible on the go. Next time opt for some fruit with nuts or string cheese or even microwavable soup. Check out Sarah's book for a ton of ideas and RD approved brands.

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The recipes in this book are super simple. Most of which you can pack on the go or make ahead of time. One of my faves is the Date Rolls with Coconut and Whole Almonds. I definitely have a sweet tooth and this is a sure way to satisfy it while still filling me up (it has protein!) till my next meal. Check it below.

Date Rolls with Coconut & Whole Almonds

An energy booster with natural sweetness.
4 whole pitted dates + 1 Tbsp shredded coconut + 4 almonds = 230 calories
Slice the dates open and stuff each date with shredded coconut and 1 almond each.

 

P.S. I forgot to mention all the snacks are less than 250 calories!  #winning (is that still a thing?)


Ok, now time for the GIVEAWAY!

**UPDATE: GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

be sure to check out Sarah's book on Amazon too!

To Enter:

1. Please follow Sarah on either Instagram or Facebook.
You can find her pages here: 

(*scroll to the very bottom and get bonus points for following me too*)

2. Complete the form below to sign up to get the latest nutrition info, updates, recipes and more right to your inbox each month. You won't regret it:)

The more you follow/sign up for the more entries you'll get. 
Winner will be announced on Monday, February 6th. 
Good luck!

What is 'Healthy'?

 
(This is the first pic that showed up when I typed 'healthy' into the stock photos site - I thought it was general, but fitting. Happiness can play a role in your healthy too, can't it?)

(This is the first pic that showed up when I typed 'healthy' into the stock photos site - I thought it was general, but fitting. Happiness can play a role in your healthy too, can't it?)

 

 

Everyone seems to have a different definition of 'healthy.' Which I think is great. There is no one definition and it is totally personal to your beliefs, health needs, lifestyle, and more. 

My healthy is a lot of different things. It means having the energy to do the things I love; being mindful and doing my best to listen to my hunger and fullness cues; choosing foods that make my body feel good most often; including lots of veggies; getting a good night's sleep on most nights; being active but choosing the types of activities I enjoy; being flexible around food and not having restrictions or labeling foods as 'good' or 'bad'; allowing myself to have chocolate or cookies or beer or fries if I want to.

I'm sure most people I see at my local co-op would include  'local' and 'organic' in their definition, while some of my patients at the hospital may include low saturated fat and sodium, and those with celiac may include gluten-free in their definition. I think this is great, and goes to show that there is no one perfect 'diet' or way of eating. Each person is unique and so are their health and nutrition needs.

 

 

You may or may not know that many of the food claims we read on food packages are regulated and defined by the FDA or USDA ('low-sodium', 'good source of', 'light' or 'lite', 'natural', 'organic', etc.)

In 2015, KIND bars were called out for labeling their bars as 'healthy.' Although they're made up of most poly and monounsaturated fats, the total fat content in the bars exceeded the amount allowed by the government's definition.

'Healthy' was originally defined back in the 90s when we all feared fat. Now that we know how essential fat is to our brain and body functions, and that different types of fat act differently in the body, we're taking another look at the word (20 years later!).

 

So, my question for you is...

How do you define 'healthy'? What does 'healthy' mean to you?

Is it based on certain nutrients or food groups? Does it have rules and regulations? Does it include exercise, movement, a good night's sleep? Is it your relationship with food? Let me know!

 

(btw...healthy can now be used on food labels if the fat content is primarily composed of mono and polyunsaturated fats or if the product contains at least 10% of the recommended daily value of either potassium or vitamin D)

Healthier Twists on Our Thanksgiving Faves

Thanksgiving dinner can be a perfectly healthy, well-balanced meal. We're presented with platters of vegetables and lean meat. The reason many of us walk away feeling over stuffed or even gain a few pounds over the holidays is not only the amounts we consume but how we traditionally prepare them. Many of our traditional faves are loaded with empty calories from excess sugar, butter, and cream. (Empty calories meaning ingredients or foods that provide little nutritional value - things like soda, candy, butter, bacon, etc.)

Listed below are a few healthier twists on some of our Thanksgiving favorites...

Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries are naturally a bit tart and require a bit of sweetness to cut some of the bite. However, many recipes call for way more sugar than necessary. You can usually cut the amount of sugar in a recipe (whether it is cranberry sauce or baked goods) in half! You can also sweeten with a splash of apple cider or fresh squeezed oranges for a bit more flavor and sweetness but less added sugar.
Here is a healthier and lower sugar cranberry sauce recipe from Cookie and Kate.

Gravy
Gravy is traditionally made from turkey drippings often containing a large amount of saturated fat. Saturated fat is the type of fat that is solid at room temperature. Eating too much saturated fat is not great for our heart health long term.
If you let your turkey drippings cool, you can scrape the fat off the top and discard. Typically gravy requires a type of roux to thicken the sauce. Instead of mixing flour and butter you can use cornstarch and water for the same effect.
Additionally, you could make this delicious mushroom gravy from Whole Foods. I made this recipe last year and it was a huge crowd pleaser!

Stuffing
Traditional stuffing is drenched in butter and often scattered with bacon or sausage. Although they taste great, they are foods that provide us with little health benefit. It is possible to create an equally delicious yet healthier stuffing. Try using a dash of olive oil just to prevent sticking and soaking in vegetable broth or a little white wine instead of the butter.
Try these healthier recipes: Martha Stewart's Healthy Harvest Stuffing or Gluten-Free Walnut, Kale, Quinoa Stuffing from Healthy Seasonal Recipes.

Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a staple at any Thanksgiving dinner table. I always recommend leaving the skins on potatoes because they're loaded with fiber. Many of us do not meet our recommended daily amount of fiber.
Fiber helps to fill us up and keep us full longer. It is also important for:
     - Digestion and normalizing bowel movements
     - Helping to lower cholesterol
     - Weight management
     - Blood sugar control
A few tips for healthier mashed potatoes:
     -Cut the amount of butter in half, gradually add it in to taste
     -Use skim or 1% milk over whole milk or cream or even add some low-fat greek yogurt for the same creaminess with added protein

Try these from Food and Wine. You could also try Mashed Sweet Potatoes or Mashed Cauliflower.

What healthy food swaps have you tried and loved for Thanksgiving?