National Eating Healthy Day is November 7. The American Heart Association encourages you to focus on good nutrition by making small, healthy changes in your food choices. Snacks are a great place to start and here are a few tips to help you celebrate this event.
- Use a snack as a mini-meal instead of a treat. This puts the focus on choosing a balanced snack that includes carbohydrates, protein and fiber instead of a treat, which is oftentimes sweet and salty.
- Include a good protein and fiber source in your snack. Protein helps keep your blood sugar steady and fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer. Good protein sources include low fat string cheese, peanut butter, nuts, hummus and low fat yogurt. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Snacking should not make you feel guilty. It’s a great way to feel more energetic and keep you alert. Most people need something every 4 hours to keep their blood sugar levels steady.
- Smart snack choices (and a glass of water) can help curb your appetite for the next meal. This gives you time to prepare a nourishing meal so you aren’t reaching for convenience foods or take out.
- How many calories should my snack contain? A healthy snack should contain between 50-150 calories.
- What’s your snack of choice? If it’s typically a candy bar at 3:00 in the afternoon to get you through the last 2 hours of work, try something sweet like fresh blueberries, grapes or a granola bar. If it’s typically a salty, crunchy snack while watching your favorite evening show, try low fat popcorn, homemade trail mix or our hummus recipe below with fresh veggies or low fat pretzels.
Black Bean Hummus
Saint Mary’s Sous Chef Bryan Nader
½ cup cilantro
1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 TBSP tahini
2 TBSP water
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Place ¼ cup cilantro, and the next 8 ingredients into bowl of food processor, and blend until smooth. Spoon into serving bowl, garnish with remaining ¼ cup cilantro, refrigerate until ready to serve
20, 1 ounce portions
30 calories. 1.5 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fat (0.7 grams monounsaturated), 1.5 grams fiber