Microwaved Kale Chips

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PC: Nomnompaleo.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Kale

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Any other desired spices (paprika, garlic powder, cumin, etc.)

Preparation:

1. Wash and thoroughly dry kale. Remove stems from kale and tear into two inch pieces.

2. Toss Kale with olive oil and desired spices in a large bowl.

3. Spread roughly 1/3 of the kale in a single layer on a large plate.

4. Microwave for 3 minutes. If leaves are crispy, transfer to serving bowl, if not continue to microwave in 20-second increments until crispy. Repeat with remaining 2 batches.

5. Store chips for up to 1 week in airtight container.

Sweet Popcorn

PC: TheGunnySack.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut, peanut, or canola oil

  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels (preferably from UCD student farm)

  • 3-quart covered saucepan

  • Spices to taste (cinnamon, sugar, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce)

Preparation:

Stove: Heat oil in saucepan on medium to high heat. Put 3 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. Once the kernels pop, add the remaining 1/3 cup of kernels in an even layer. Cover the pan with the lid, but try to keep it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Once the popcorn begins to pop gently shake the pan (this will prevent burning). When the popcorn slows to several seconds between each pop remove from heat and dump into a bowl. Flavor with spices of your choice.

Microwave: Mix 1/3 cup kernels with 1Tbsp of oil, place in brown paper bag, fold bag closed tightly. Place bag in microwave on high for 2-3minutes. Stop microwave when kernel pops are greater than 10 seconds apart. Season with spices/sauce of your choice.

Spiced Popcorn

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut, Peanut, or Canola Oil

  • 1/3 Cup Popcorn Kernels (preferably from UCD student farm)

  • 3-Quart Covered Saucepan

  • Spices to taste (Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper)

Preparation:

Stove: Heat oil in saucepan on medium to high heat. Put 3 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan. Once the kernels pop, add the remaining 1/3 cup of kernels in an even layer. Cover the pan with the lid, but try to keep it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Once the popcorn begins to pop gently shake the pan (this will prevent burning). When the popcorn slows to several seconds between each pop remove from heat and dump into a bowl. Flavor with spices of your choice.

Microwave: Mix 1/3 cup kernels with 1Tbsp of oil, place in brown paper bag, fold bag closed tightly. Place bag in microwave on high for 2-3minutes. Stop microwave when kernel pops are greater than 10 seconds apart. Season with spices of your choice.

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! 

What Cravings Are Telling You

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What Cravings Are Telling You

A craving—an intense desire for a certain food—is believed to be a signal sent by the body for specific food because of the nutrients that it provides. A craving for chocolate, for example, would signal a physiologic need for more antioxidants. However, a bowl of red beans, which are higher in antioxidants than chocolate, would better meet that supposed physiological need: however, red beans are low on the craving scale.  Despite their bad reputation in fad-diet culture, cravings can actually be a good sign. It is your body reminding you of what it needs. Eating every 3 to 4 hours can help to fuel a healthy metabolism, maintain muscle mass and prevent between-meal hunger that leads to unwise snacking. Eating just enough, but not too much, helps to curb cravings. Eating light will also prevent you from feeling sluggish. You will feel better and be more focused when you have the right amount of fuel in your system on a regular basis. For maximum energy, also make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water!

Here’s a guide for healthy ways to respond to your cravings this week during finals:

  • “I’m craving chocolate!”

What you need: Magnesium (nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit)

Study snack: A handful of almonds, a small amount of dark chocolate, and fruits high in antioxidants such as blueberries or blackberries

  • “I want sugary foods.”

What you need: Chromium (broccoli, grapes, cheese, chicken), Carbon (fresh fruit), Phosphorous (chicken, beef, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains), Sulfur (cranberries, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage), and Tryptophan (cheese, raisins, sweet potato, spinach)

Study snack: Grapes and low fat cheese or a poached egg on top of a sweet potato pancake

  • “I need carbs! Bring on the bread and pasta.”

What you need:  Nitrogen (high protein foods such as meat, nuts, fish, and beans)

Study snack: Bean dip with cucumber, celery, or carrot sticks

  • “I’ve got to have oily, high fat foods.”

What you need: Calcium (milk, cheese, yogurt, legumes, broccoli, green leafy vegetables)

Study snack: V8 juice, Greek yogurt, or broccoli dipped in hummus

  • “Super salty food sounds perfect.”

What you need: Chloride (fish, goats milk)

Study snack: Smoked salmon and goat cheese on whole-wheat crackers

Is Eating Late Bad For Your Health?

Open Late

As a recent college graduate, I often find myself reminiscing about the good old days.

Whenever I take a walk down memory lane, it’s always fun to remember freshman year in the dorms, including, of course, late night cramming. One of my favorite memories is venturing on late night food runs! It’s one of the many defining moments that make the college experience unique.

As most of you know, college students stay up until the wee hours studying (or attempting to do so). And let’s face it, when it hits midnight and you have an insatiable desire to munch on something salty, chewing on gum isn’t going to cut it.  At that point, trying to resist eating is pretty much a losing battle (instant noodles, anyone?)

For years, there has been a negative connotation associated with late night eating. The popular saying, “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” has become the popular mantra surrounding a healthy lifestyle. So the age-old question becomes, is eating late bad for your health?

Not necessarily.

Weight maintenance occurs when the caloric intake equals energy expenditure. This means that at the end of the day the total amount of calories you’re consuming is what matters the most for weight control. The common problem with late night eating is that we often opt for unhealthy foods or we tend to overeat. Here are some things to consider the next time those late night hunger cravings hit:

Are you really hungry?
Using food as a coping mechanism is common. When we feel anxious, happy, or even bored, we tend to turn to food. When you get the urge to snack, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if you’re simply bored and want something to do. Try finding non-food mechanisms to cope with your emotions, such as going out for a walk or talking with a friend.

Choose smart options.
Yes, it may be tempting to drive to the nearest fast food restaurant but the overly processed food you’ll find there will leave you feeling bloated and sluggish.

What to look for:

  • Snacks and smaller meals that are easier to digest compared to large meals.
  • Low-fat cheese, yogurt, and lean meat all contain slow digesting protein that will allow you to feel full.
  • Fruits and vegetables are guilt-free snack options low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber, which will help fill you up.
  • Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, increase levels of serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin regulates mood and contributes to overall emotional well-being.

Curb late night hunger by trying:

  • Greek yogurt topped with your favorite fruit.
  • Whole grain crackers with low fat cheese and sliced turkey.
  • Whole wheat bread filled with hummus and veggies.
  • A sandwich on whole wheat bread, lean meat, and veggies.
  • Oatmeal topped with sliced bananas.

Be prepared!
Having fresh healthful ingredients on hand will make it easier to combat junk food temptations. Stock up on your favorite snack options when you go grocery shopping so you’ll always be ready when hunger hits.