Welcome to my Blog about Food and Well-being!

I am often asked to share my knowledge of food and recipes. After changing my diet four years ago from a typical "Western" diet to a mostly whole-foods and plant-based diet, I have seen incredible changes in my health and well-being. I have spent countless hours researching and love helping those who are ready to feel better. The underlying theme? YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Read on to find out more.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Snacks - Think of Them Differently!

If you're trying to eat healthier and cut out all the processed foods, snack time can be a challenge. What do you give your kids (or yourself) when bagged pretzels, chips, crackers, sweets and empty calories are a no-no? Fear not. You only have to change how you think about snacks.

The whole purpose of a snack is to recharge the body and satiate it until dinner. It is NOT supposed to fill you up like a full meal. Simple carbohydrates like the ones mentioned above fill you very briefly but raise your blood sugar (and often blood pressure if they're salty) so you have energy briefly, but then crash within a couple of hours. You've given your body nothing it can actually use except the temporary high of sugars (because your body processes simple carbs as sugar). What your body needs when it's tired or hungry is NUTRIENTS, not high carb processed junk.

Think of snacks as a small meal. If you have 5 minutes, you can make:
  • Have any preservative-free deli meat, leftover organic chicken or beans from last night? Put it on an organic tortilla with some healthy goat cheese (and any veggies you can sneak in there) and make a quick fajita taco or grill it as a quesadilla. 
  • Or wrap the deli meat around a good piece of cheese (preferably goat cheese) with some good mustard.
  • Have some beans? Spread them on organic tortilla chips, top with a sprinkle of shredded goat cheese and stick them under the broiler for 2 minutes. Add a dollop of guacamole and salsa.
  • Cut up some seasonal fruit and dip it in organic peanut butter mixed with local honey, or plain goat milk yogurt drizzled with local honey. 
  • Kids love parfaits (who doesn't?), so layer the fruit and yogurt/honey with granola to make a pretty "dessert-like" treat.
  • Make mini pizzas with English muffins or a hearty piece of bread - use that spaghetti sauce that's sitting in the back of your fridge, add some preservative-free ham pieces and some grated goat cheese. Pop it under the broiler for 3 minutes.
  • Boil some edamame and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Spread hummus onto a cracker (I love Ak-Mak brand), add feta and a few sliced kalamata olives. Or cut up cucumber, carrots and celery and dip in the hummus.
  • Make the roasted chickpeas (garbanzos) found in my Recipes section.
  • Make homemade popcorn (1/3 cup organic corn and 1 Tbsp coconut oil with 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil on stovetop). Season with lemon and salt, or just salt, or make a seasoning
  • Make a green smoothie (see Recipe section) and add a generous handful of pumpkin seeds to the blender for a boost of protein
If you think of snacks as a mini-meal, you realize the possibilities are endless. And you're giving your body real nutrients it can use to fuel you until dinner. 

If you are short on time and need a snack that travels:
  • An apple or banana with a packet of Justin's peanut or almond butter
  • A Lara Bar (see recipe on Recipes link to the right)
  • Pre-bag your own trail mix so you can grab it when you need it - include lots of nuts, dried fruits and a few chocolate chips 
  • Wrap preservative-free deli meat around cheese (preferably goat) & keep in fridge til needed
  • Grab a mandarin orange (simple to peel) and a bag of pistachios or other nut
  • Make the homemade granola recipe from this blog and put it in individual baggies to grab when you're on the run
  • Make many of the snacks listed in the first section ahead of time so when your child gets home from school, their snack is ready to eat
Remember - we are natural beings CREATED to eat NATURAL foods. That is, food that is found in nature, not packaged food that claims to be natural. Big difference. The earth gives us what we need so EAT from the earth!

Quick plug - I am now on Twitter! Follow me at @eatingfromearth to get quick meal ideas, links to interesting research and news, new products to try, tips and encouragement. 

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