Build a Healthy Lifestyle one Ingredient at a Time: Snacks

As a Registered Dietitian I am often asked what foods I always have in my pantry, refrigerator or freezer and why.  In this blog series we will dive into my kitchen and discuss all of the essentials, the nutritional value of each item and ideas for how to incorporate them into your lifestyle.

A well stocked pantry is an essential ingredient in the foundation of a healthy lifestyle so let’s take peek at what’s in my snack corner right now.

Kind Fruit & Nut Bars

Serving size 1 bar (40 g)

Calories 160, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 20 mg, Total Carbohydrate 19 g, Dietary Fiber 5 g, Total Sugar 8 g, Added Sugar 6 g, Sugar Alcohol 0 g, Protein 5 g

Ingredients: almonds, cranberries, chicory root fiber, sugar, honey, rice flour, glucose syrup, soy lecithin and sea salt.

The KIND bar is a low calorie snack that is also a good source of protein and fiber. Almonds, the main ingredient in most of the bars, provide fiber, monounsaturated fat and vitamin E. Monounsaturated fat supports brain and cardiovascular health. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient with antioxidant properties that supports eye, skin and brain health.

SkinnyGirl Popcorn

Serving size 1 bag (42.5 g)

Calories 160, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 2.5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 400 mg, Total Carbohydrate 28 g, Dietary Fiber 4 g, Total Sugar 0 g, Protein 3 g

Ingredients: popping corn, palm oil, sea salt, natural flavor, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E for freshness).

Skinny Girl Popcorn is a good alternative to traditional microwave popcorn because the company portions it into smaller bags. One bag is a low calorie snack that is also a good source of fiber. Yes an entire bag of this microwave popcorn can be part of a healthy lifestyle! Enjoy! 

ENergy Bites

Have you ever wished that you could transform something healthy into a treat that tastes like fudge? Well as it turns out, you can! This recipe for dark chocolate energy bites is your wish come true. It has no added sugar and is a good source of omega-3 (heart healthy) fat if you use walnuts!

Trail Mix

Sweet, salty, crunchy… Trail mix is the perfect pick-me-up during that mid-morning slump or after-lunch-cravings-zone. Dumped on a bowl of greek yogurt this iconic snack can even double as a satisfying breakfast (yum!).

In the snack aisle you will find dozens of trail-mix choices. Unfortunately, the nutritional value of commercial trail mixes often falls in the same category as a candy bar (yikes!) and the price per pound is significantly higher than bulk ingredients. So, why not build your own nutrient dense trail mix?

Q: How do I make the healthiest trail mix?

A:  Keep the nut to fruit ratio 2:1. In a large bowl combine: 2 cups nuts and seeds, 1 cup dried fruit and a handful of dark chocolate chunks. Measure 1/4 cup portions into travel-ready containers and enjoy!

I think that walnuts and pumpkin seeds are two of the healthiest trail mix ingredients. Walnuts are one of the riches sources of alpha-linolenic acid (plant-based omega-3 fatty acids) and polyphenols. Together, these nutrients fight inflammation and support cognitive health.

One ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds provide 156 mg of magnesium (37% daily value) making them one of the riches sources of this key mineral. Magnesium plays a vital role in over 600 metabolic reactions and research shows that it may support healthy blood sugar levels, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (stroke and high blood pressure), reduce migraine symptoms, support bone health and improve sleep

Sea Salt ChickPeas

Calories 120, Total Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 0 g,  Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 185 mg, Total Carbohydrate 18 g, Dietary Fiber 5 g, Total Sugar 1 g, Added Sugar 0 g, Protein 5 g

Ingredients: roasted chickpeas, expeller pressed safflower or sunflower oil, coarse salt, natural vitamin E.

The Good Bean Crunchy Sea Salt Chickpeas  (and other flavors like chili lime and hummus) are a delicious alternative to chips or crackers. The classic potato chip snack bag is a good source of sodium and fat and is (unfortunately) not a good source of many other nutrients. Chickpeas (and other legumes), on the other hand, support heart and metabolic health because they are rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium.

Be well

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