Snacking Happy!

The word “snack” typically has a negative association attached to it. Most people hear that word and think of it as what NOT to do- but not in a Dietitian’s world! To us, snacking is essential to keeping our metabolism and energy high!

But what does that mean? Grab a bag of chips from the vending machine? Steal a piece of candy off a co-worker’s desk? Nope. Snacks should be planned exactly the way meals should be. They should be a purposeful part of the day, and not a last minute “pick me up” or “hold me over” thing.

I have 3 rules for snacking.

#1: Use fresh and whole foods as much as possible

#2: Always include both protein and carbs

#3: Make sure the snack is both nourishing AND enjoyable!

The second rule is the most important if you want increased energy and metabolism, more willpower, better stress management, and more staying power- meaning you’re not starving by your next meal. When we eat a carb- any kind of carb, good or bad- our blood sugar spikes really high, really fast. Then it crashes just as quickly, but much lower than it started out. This causes an energy crash, low blood sugar, and overeating at the¬†next meal. When we eat a protein, our blood sugar doesn’t increase at all, again keeping us too hungry to control portions at our next meal, manage our stress, or increase our energy. But when the protein is eaten WITH the carb… now we’re on track! The protein molecules actually stick to the carbohydrate molecules, which makes the carb raise our blood sugar much more slowly AND prevents it from crashing back down.

So what kind of snacks include carbs and protein? Examples include fruit and nuts, apple/banana and peanut butter, fruit and cheese, and greek yogurt! Also try wheat thins or triscuits with cheese, peanut butter, hummus or even avocado. There are many other carb+protein snacks. You can also treat raw veggies as the carb and add hummus or cheese!

Some of my favorite variations are:

  • Pears + ricotta cheese + cinnamon (also try drizzling just a little honey!)
  • Apple + almond butter
  • Tomatoes + mozzarella cheese + balsamic vinegar
  • Carrots + hummus
  • Wheat thins + avocado/guacamole

Sorry I don’t have pics right now! I’ll try to take some pics in the future and put them up on social media.

Thanks everyone! Hope you have an amazing weekend ūüôā

First Product Spotlight!

From time to time I will be posting a Product Spotlight. These Spotlights will be on my favorite health-food products and will include a description and run down of the nutrients along with ideas for how to incorporate the product into your diet. You can get more of these spotlights by signing up for Basic Nutrition Training, which will provide a weekly Product or Recipe Spotlight, a weekly Food Journal Review, and up to 2 questions per week answered via email. Click on the Services page for more information!

The first product I am spotlighting is my favorite yogurt, Siggi’s. Siggi’s Yogurt is not your typical greek yogurt. Technically, it’s Icelandic Skyr, which is similar to Greek yogurt. It’s thick like Greek yogurt and has loads of protein and other healthy nutrients, but it’s not nearly as tangy/sour tasting as greek yogurt. It’s creamier, AND it’s flavored naturally with much less sugar than many Greek yogurt brands.

The ingredients list alone says it all. Milk, Agave (natural plant-based sweetener), Vanilla, ¬†probiotics, and Vegetable Rennet (enzymes from certain vegetables that help with coagulation of milk). Completely natural, the way yogurt should be! The vanilla flavor is only 100cals for this container and it has 15g of protein and only 9g of sugar compared to another leading brand’s 13g of sugar. The strawberry Siggi’s has 11g of sugar, whereas the competitor’s version has 24g, plus a vague and longer ingredient list. Siggi’s strawberry has only milk, strawberries, pectin, and cane sugar.

Siggi’s Yogurt is a complete snack, containing just the right amount of carbohydrates and protein to keep you satisfied. It’s also great as a base for smoothies or yogurt parfaits for a complete breakfast! Plus, it is my favorite yogurt to use as a cooking ingredient. Just replace cream, milk, sour cream (or even cheese!) in any recipe with nonfat plain Siggi’s yogurt for a higher protein, lower fat meal. Take a look at their website¬† for recipe ideas or find any recipe that calls for greek yogurt. I once made a Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese using pureed butternut squash and Siggi’s yogurt, and my husband had NO idea that it wasn’t cheese :)¬† I’ll post that recipe when I make it again someday! In the meantime, for a quick high-protein vegetarian meal, try cooking 1 serving of whole wheat pasta (love Barilla!), drain the water and add low sodium canned black beans (approx 1/4-1/2c), and melt in 1 laughing cow light cheese wedge and 1/2c Siggi’s yogurt. I also add Sririachi sauce for some kick. Other optional ingredients are diced tomatoes, onions and garlic, black pepper, cumin. You can play around with the amounts of each ingredient according to your taste, and you can also make it without the black beans if you’re not a fan, but they’re a great addition for a little extra protein and fiber! One tip for using any greek yogurt for cooking is to add it last towards the end and on a low to low-medium heat or it may curdle.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite yogurt! I am always suggesting it to clients so I thought I’d continue to spread the word. Please comment with any questions or your own recipe ideas!