Our busy schedules as Richmond Moms can easily interfere with our efforts to stay on a healthy meal schedule. Did you know that skipping meals or reaching for that sugary snack will actually lead to a low energy crash? Going too long without eating and high sugar snacks can make you feel tired, cranky and spacey! Small snacks and mini-meals including lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates, fiber and some healthy fats will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day, keep you satisfied and help regulate your blood sugar! It’s a good idea to plan for high energy meals/snacks daily and make them easily accessible at home, at work or on the run!
Try these nutrient rich snacks to keep you satisfied and your energy levels high:
• Parfait – Low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt provides protein and carbohydrates to help keep you full and provide energy! Berries are a rich source of carbohydrates, vitamin C and phytonutrients! Layer 6 ounces of low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt with a cup of fresh berries and top with a little granola for a great breakfast or mid-morning snack!
• Nut butter waffles or nut butter sandwich – There are so many great options of nut butters on the store shelves today and they are great sources of protein, healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and other nutrients! The specific nutrients of each nut butter depend on which type of nut you choose – almond, cashew, macadamia, walnut or hazelnut. Not only do whole grains offer more health benefits than refined grains, they are also loaded with fiber which helps keep you full and controls your hunger! Toast a whole grain waffle and top with 1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter. Then top with your favorite fruit such as berries or peaches! Or top a slice of whole grain bread with 1 tablespoon nut butter and ½ banana.
• Nut and fruit mix – Nuts are easy to pack and a great source of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Since they are calorie dense, moderation with your portion size is key! Combine ¼ cup of nuts with 5 dried apricots or other favorite dried fruit, pack in individual snack bags for a great on-the-go or work snack!
• Hummus and veggies – Hummus is a great high protein, vegetarian snack prepared from chickpeas. Veggies, of course, are a top notch source of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. Be sure to include them in your snacks and meals to get in your 5 servings a day! Spread ¼ cup of hummus on the bottom of a jelly jar and top with carrot, cucumber or celery sticks for a portable snack!
More quick and nutritious snacks:
• Homemade Fruit smoothie – Blend milk or a milk alternative with fat-free yogurt and your favorite frozen fruit (no sugar necessary!)
• Homemade Trail mix made with your favorite finger snacks – Combine cereal, mini pretzels, raisins, whole grain crackers, and nuts.
• “Pretend” Hot Danish – Toast half a whole grain English muffin, spread with low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese, top with applesauce and cinnamon. Microwave to heat through.
• Baked potato and dip – Heat a half a potato and top with low-fat bean dip.
Valerie Pulley is a nutritionist with MARTIN’S Food Markets.
MARTIN’S Food Markets is a sponsor of Richmondmom.com