Healthy Snacks 101

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Snacks can boost your energy between meals and supply essential vitamins and minerals. Think of snacks as mini-meals that contribute nutrient-rich foods. The key to delicious snacking is to be creative with what you make so that you are always coming up with new combinations. These recipes are high in nutrients while also being more imaginative than your standard snack.

Have a busy week ahead of you? Prepare and store your snacks on Sunday so that you have them ready to go during the week.

Greek Yogurt Bowl 

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photo by 101 Cookbooks

Start with 1 cup of Greek yogurt and add in your choice of nuts, seeds, fruit, and a drizzle of honey for sweetness.

Benefits: Greek yogurt has double the protein of most regular yogurts. Greek yogurt contains probiotics that not only improve your digestive health and keep the bacteria in your gut healthy, they boost your immune system to keep you well. All nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps keep your skin healthy.

Vegetable Hummus

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photo by Martha Stewart

Hummus is a great way to sneak veggies into your meal if you don’t enjoy eating them whole. Enjoy this recipe, which incorporates kale, as a dip for raw veggies or crackers, as a spread in a sandwich or wrap or use a dollop on top of a fresh salad.

Benefits:  Kale is high in Vitamin K, which can help protect against various cancers. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Chickpeas are high in protein and also known to be effective in preventing build up of cholesterol in the blood vessels.

Blueberry-Pecan Bars 

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photo by Our Family Eats

This recipe is perfect for breakfast on the go or a snack between meals.

Benefits: Oats are a slow digesting carbohydrate that will keep you full for longer because of their high fiber content. Dried blueberries provide vitamins and antioxidants. Coconut oil provides some healthy fat: the medium chain fatty acids in coconut have been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Bananas supply potassium and B6. These bars earn even more points because they have no refined sugar, and can be made gluten free!

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

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photo by Fit Sugar

Make this smoothie for a quick breakfast on the go, or post workout to get protein to your muscles for recovery. Find the recipe here.

Benefits: Whey protein is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own. One half cup of pumpkin contains 400% of your daily needed vitamin A, as well as vitamin C and fiber. Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices it is high in antioxidants, which play an important role in keeping the body healthy.

What are some of your favorite snacks? Do you like to get creative while snacking? Leave a reply below! 

Inexpensive Meals and Ideas on a Budget

Inexpensive-Meals-PhotoAs a college student, I am always on a budget when it comes to grocery shopping. After all, less money spent on food equals more money to spend on fun. However I also value eating healthy, which rules out subsisting on ramen noodles. As a result I have found that with a little creativity and smart shopping, it’s possible to create meals that keep both my stomach and my wallet happy. Here are a few to try:

  • Make a wrap! Grill chicken and wrap it in a whole wheat tortilla with your choice of extras such as avocado, lettuce, and tomato. Or try this recipe for Fajita Ranch Chicken Wraps (pictured above), which are only $2.05 per serving. Alternatively, create a breakfast wrap by substituting scrambled eggs as the protein source.
  • Oatmeal is high in fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol, protect against heart disease, and strengthen the immune system. If you’re still not convinced you should run out and buy oatmeal this second, you will be after you read more about its health benefits here. Instead of purchasing prepackaged oatmeal that is already flavored, opt for plain oats. From here the options for oatmeal additions are endless. For autumn themed oatmeal, add canned pumpkin, pecans, cinnamon, and honey.
  • Make a hummus dipping platter with pita bread and raw vegetables such as snap peas, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, or cauliflower florets. Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are rich in fiber and protein. They also contain vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, zinc, and magnesium. Trader Joes sells hummus for less then $2, or create your own using the recipe here!
  • Make a tuna or egg salad. Canned tuna and hard-boiled eggs serve as an inexpensive base. This recipe for Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad is a fun twist on classic tuna salad, incorporating beans and eliminating the traditional mayonnaise. Spread on whole wheat bread or crackers.
  • Instead of spending money on juice or soda, slice fresh fruit and add it to water. This is a cheap and easy way to create a flavored beverage that doesn’t contain lots of added sugar, and you can eat the fruit that’s left over! If you want to get creative, try mixing and matching fruits with various herbs and spices such as watermelon and cilantro or pineapple and ginger.

As you can now see, eating well does not always require spending a lot of money. There are so many options that are both healthy and affordable. The best way to eat healthy on a budget is with a little planning and a lot of imagination. Happy saving!