Friday, October 8, 2010

Snack Attack

Being a nutrition student helps keep me on my "healthy" toes.  Sitting in class, watching other students eat their raw vegetables, nuts and salads is great inspiration for making healthy food choices.  But let's be serious.  Most people do not cut up their raw radishes and snack on them to get them through the day.  They don't have time to prepare a fantastic quinoa salad or remember to portion 15 raw almonds in little baggies before they leave in the morning.  As great as this is, it's not always practical.

People require more from a snack.  The purpose of a snack is to keep you fueled from one meal to the next and raw celery stalks are not going to do it for most.  However, snacking can also be a black hole of calories if you are not careful.  Many additional daily calories are consumed outside of regular meals and this caloric excess contributes to obesity.   Here are some of my favorite snacking options to keep you energized, fit into your busy time constraints and help you obtain additional nutrients (remember no "empty calorie" snacks).  Both snacks fit the snack profile you are looking for whether it be crunchy or sweet or savory.

Apples with Almond Butter and Honey
Makes 1 serving

1 Apple, cleaned and quartered
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Honey

Clean, core and quarter the apple.  Top with 1/2 Tablespoon of almond butter.  Finish with a drizzle of honey.

Rosemary Popcorn with Parmesan Cheese
Makes about 8 cups 

Note: I am obsessed with popcorn so I have an air popper.  However, most people do not.  This recipe follows instructions for stove top popping even though air popping is healthier because it requires less oil. 

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, cleaned 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on high heat.  Place one kernel in the oil once it is hot.  Wait until the kernel pops, then add the remaining kernels, tossing in the oil to coat completely.  Place lid on top and remove from heat once popping begins to slow down.  Allow popcorn to finish popping and remove the lid so condensation does not build up.

In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium.  The sprigs of rosemary can remain whole or can be diced, based on preference.  Add the rosemary and saute for a few minutes to allow the flavor of the rosemary to infuse the oil.

Drizzle the oil, alternating with the cheese and tossing the popcorn to coat.  Continue adding rosemary, oil and cheese and tossing.  Add salt to taste and toss one last time.  Portion and store in sealable bags or containers.

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