More Snacks…

Just in time for the holiday weekend, my On-The-Go Snack List continues…

I’m sure many of you are planning on hitting the road for the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend, so I thought I’d share some more of my snack ideas with you…many of them are quick and easy to prepare and can be stored in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware.

This time around I’ve categorized your munchies into what you’re taste buds are craving…You can indulge in these tasty, easy-to-prep finger foods guilt-free!

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Crunchy

  • Rye crackers with mashed avocado and lemon juice
  • Whole wheat cracker spread with nut butter, drizzled with honey and topped with sliced strawberries
  • Air-Popped Popcorn (make your own healthy variety)
  • Apple slices drizzled with Agave Nectar
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Crudites of veggies and your choice of dip (Hummus, Tabouli, Vinaigrette, Balsamic Dressing and Olive Oil)
  • Celery and Nut Butter
  • Whole Grain toast with hummus
  • Toasted nuts sprinkled with stevia and cinnamon

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Sweet

  • Wheat grass
  • Dried fruit
  • Greek yogurt and ripe fruit
  • Dried fruit and nuts (Try pairing together different options such as pistachios with dried mango, macadamia nuts with dried cherries, peanuts with dried apricots, hazelnuts with dried pears or cashews with dried cranberries)
  • Sprouted date bread with all natural jam
  • Frozen Greek yogurt (Make Your Own)
  • 1 Banana rolled in cocoa powder and drizzled with honey
  • Porridge (Maple syrup, cinnamon, soy milk, bananas mixed with your choice of left-over grains)
  • Smoothies (Carob powder, Greek yogurt, ice, fruit, soy milk, etc.)
  • Fruit ‘Ice Cream’ (Peel a banana, freeze and blend in a food processor along with nuts and berries.
  • Roasted Sweet Veggies drizzled with cinnamon and agave nectar (Experiment with root veggies such as yams, sweet potatoes, squashes such as acorn, butternut or kabocha and cut into chunks or ‘fries’, then sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with agave nectar; bake until crispy).
  • Organic Dark Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips

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Salty

  • Olives
  • Pickles, Pickled Beets, Pickled Tomatoes
  • Hummus, Tabouli
  • Organic Turkey slices wrapped around sliced avocado and tomato
  • Sardines and Oysters
  • Steamed veggies with your choice of Shoyu, Tamari, Miso or Umemboshi Vinegar
  • Miso Soup with whole wheat crackers
  • Sea Vegetables added to any dish
  • Whole Grain Tortilla chips dipped into homemade salsa/guacamole
  • Sprouted Cheese Melt (Toast sprouted bread and top with a slice of cheese; broil until cheese is melted and top with a slice of tomato).
  • Sauerkraut
  • Whole Wheat Pitas with Parmesan (Sprinkle Galaxy Vegan Parmesan Cheese over a whole wheat pita; broil until cheese turns brown and cut into squares.
  • Fresh Lime or Lemon Juice added to your beverages
  • Vinegar and Lemon/Lime Juice mixed into marinades and dressings
  • Salted Edamame
  • Organic Cheese

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Creamy

  • Smoothies
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Avocados
  • Homemade Rice Pudding
  • Baba Ghanoush/ Hummus Spreads
  • Pureed Soups
  • Cottage Cheese with whole grain crackers and fruit
  • Homemade Pudding (Made with Silken Tofu, Avocado or Mashed Banana)
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Coconut Milk

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Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win my Big S Farms Give-A-Way.  Send me a comment for your change at 1 of 4 great prizes.  The deadline is Monday, July the 6th.

Good Luck!

Have a Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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Omega What?

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These healthy fats help prevent a wide range of medical problems such as depression, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.  Unlike the saturated fats found in butter and lard, Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated.

  • Eat fish at least 2 times a week.  Cold water and fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sturgeon, anchovies, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Experiment with eating tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnuts and flax seeds, and their oils.  These contain alpha-linolenic acid which can become Omega 3 fatty acid in the body.

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Omega 3 not only plays a vital role in the health of the membrane of every cell in our body, it also helps protect us from numerous health threats.  The benefits of Omega 3’s include reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease while helping to reduce symptoms of joint pain, rheumatoid problems, certain skin ailments, hypertension, ADHD, and depression.  Moreover, some research has shown that Omega 3’s can boost the immune system and help protect us from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

So, why is Omega 3 so amazing? Experts say these fatty acids encourage the production of body chemicals that help control inflammation in the tissues, bloodstream, and joints.  Moreover, these Omega 3’s reduce the negative impact of Omega 6 fatty acids, which are found in poultry, cereals, baked goods, margarine, vegetable oils and eggs.  These fatty acids support skin health, lower cholesterol and help make our blood “sticky” therefore allowing it to clot.   However, when Omega 6’s are not balanced with enough Omega 3’s in our bodies, problems can arise.  For instance, too much Omega 6 leads to clot formation, which can increase the risk of stroke and heart attach. 

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Sadly enough, the typical American diet has a ratio of approximately 20: 1 Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s respectively. Experts say we need to move that ratio to look more like a 4:1.  Keep in mind that we don’t have to get a daily supply of Omega 3’s, as long as we maintain a weekly intake of 6-8 grams, your body will have what it needs.

Along with the cold water fish listed above, we need to incorporate foods such as flax seed, canola oil, broccoli, cantaloupe, kidney beans, grape leaves, spinach, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower and walnuts.

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Here is a great Heart-Healthy Omega 3 recipe for you to try.

Bake-Less Peanut Butter Bars

Makes 8 Bars

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 1 Tbsp. Organic Dairy Free Margarine
  • 3/4 cup Organic Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup Nature’s Path Hemp Plus Omega 3 Granola
  • 1/4 cup Dried Cherries
  • 2 Tbsp. Organic Honey
  • 1/3 cup Ground Flax seed
  • 1/2 cup Organic Brown Rice Cereal
  • Handful of crushed Walnuts

Directions

  • Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray. 
  • Microwave margarine, peanut butter, and honey in a small bowl until melted.  Mix well.
  • Add granola, brown rice cereal, walnuts, dried cherries and flax seed.
  • Spread the mixture into the baking pan and flatten with a sheet of wax paper.
  • Let cool in the refrigerator.

What Omega-3 rich foods to you incorporate into your meals?

Sardine Melt

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Now, don’t get grossed out by this recipe because I assure you, if you give these little canned babies a try—you’ll be thanking me, not only because of their amazing taste but because of the nutritional punch that they pack, as well. 

I have recently been purchasing sardines for their rich Omega 3’s, which helps our bodies maintain muscle.  Moreover, they are a good source of vitamin D, Calcium, vitamin B12, and protein!  Not to mention low in mercury, making they a smart choice for pregnant women.  If you are not fond of the flavor, try soaking the sardines in vinegar for 30 minutes; I find this helps eliminate the fishy taste. 

I came up with this cute little spin off of a tuna melt and decided to incorporate my sardines.  The flavor is amazing and this will surely become a lunch staple for me.

Ingredients

  • 1 can Sardines (no salt added)
  • Bread/Wrap/Crackers of Choice
  • Kale (or any leafy green veggie)
  • Mustard
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Celery (chopped)
  • Bell Pepper (chopped)
  • NuSalt and Pepper to season
  • Chopped Onion
  • Fresh Basil (Chopped)
  • SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free Cheese

Super Foods on a Budget

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In this day n’ age…the economy isn’t looking too shabby.  We all have to learn to cut back on certain things, however, we should not be cutting back on our nutritious foods as we must continue to feed our bodies with healthy super foods everyday.  Here are a few of my favorite super foods that will keep you on (or hopefully under) your budget!

Swiss Chard

  • An excellent source of beta carotene (an antioxidant and pre-cursor for vitamin A), vitamin C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Research has shown that vitamin C and beta carotene may prevent the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and therefore may decrease risk of heart disease.  Moreover, research has also shown that magnesium and potassium may lower blood pressure levels.  Swiss Chard is reasonably priced- a bit more expensive then some of your other greens, but still about $2/bunch.

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Kale

  • This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium.  Not to mention a good source of potassium and magnesium.   Like most greens it is usually fairly cheep at $1.50/ bunch.

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Spinach

  • One of the best green leafies out there- it’s an excellent source of folate, antioxidant vitamins A (formed from beta-carotene) and C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Studies show that folate can help prevent heart disease by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine.  Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a $1/bunch.

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Broccoli

  • An excellent source of folate and vitamin C, a good source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, potassium and vitamin B6.   If that isn’t enough broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.  Plus, it’s low in cost and calories.

Tomatoes

  • An excellent source of vitamins  A and C, a good source of potassium and contain the antioxidant lycopene.  Depending on the type of tomato, they can be pricey, however, review your choices in the food store and purchase the cheapest, best quality tomatoes.

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Parsnips

  • A good source of vitamin C, fiber and folate.  Fiber helps promote heart health by reducing levels of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and that vitamin C decreases risk for heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol.  These fun veggies are close in price to carrots, perhaps a few cents more, but still fairly cheep.

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Avocados

  • Rich in monounsaturated “GOOD” fats and contain potassium and folate.  Research shows that monounsaturated fats can lower LDL “Bad” cholesterol.   Avocados add the perfect touch to any meal and for the inexpensive price, you can’t beat it!

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

  • Omega 3’s are known to lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may help with depression, memory loss and Alzheimer’s.  Most prevalent in fatty, cold water fish such as WILD (not farmed) salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring.  Also found in fortified eggs, flax seeds and walnuts.  All of these super foods are high in monounsaturated fats, which is a huge benefit since this can lower cholesterol.  Fresh fish can be quite pricey, however, for the nutritional punch these Omega 3’s provide–it’s worth the extra cash–treat yourself!

Bananas

  • Loaded with Potassium and fiber, these yellow treats are not just a monkey’s favorite.  Not to mention they are about 20 cents a piece–a dollar can get you a banana for every day of the workweek!

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Steel Cut Oats

  • High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have been known to lower cholesterol-and boy are they cheap! A dollar can buy you more than a week’s worth of warm, satisfying steel cut oats!

Sardines

  • These relatively cheap little fish come with big benefits such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.  And, because they are low on the food chain, they do not accumulate mercury.

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Whole Grain Pasta

  • A delicious complex carbohydrate that is high in protein and B vitamins-not to mention it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy!

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Tofu

  • This inexpensive protein source is not just for vegetarians and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.  It’s high in B vitamins and Iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes.

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Beets

  • These purple guys are sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for our bodies; they are powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.  Look for fresh beets in your food store, most beets are reasonably priced and found near the root veggies.

Nuts

  • Packed with good-for-you fats, both unsaturated and monounsaturated, these are a good source of essential fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E.  Because they are so nutrient-dense, you only need a handful or two to reap the nutritional benefits.  Although macadamias and pecans can be costly, nuts such as walnuts, peanuts and almonds are low in cost.

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Wild Rice

  • This gluten-free complex carbohydrate is a whole lot better for you than “white” rice and it’s low in fat, and high in protein and fiber.  This rice is loaded with B vitamins and potassium, not to mention the delicious, nutty, robust flavor.

Garbanzo Beans

  • No only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they are high in iron, folate, manganese and fiber, and may help reduce cholesterol levels.  If you don’t like Garbanzo beans–try another-lentils, lima, black-the varieties are endless.  Additionally, with beans, you’re getting your money’s worth because they are much cheaper to purchase than animal proteins.

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Blueberries

  • Packed with phytoflavinoids and antioxidants, these berries are also high in vitamin C and potassium, which are anti-inflammatory and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.  The darker the berry, the more antioxidants they have.  And remember, frozen fruits are just as good as fresh.  Fresh berries get a bad rep for being pricey, however, their frozen friends are just as delish and good for you, not to mention cheaper! Head to the freezer isle if the fresh berries are too pricey.

What do you consider your Super Foods? How do their prices fair against the ones I have listed above?  Have you had to cut back at the food store due to our current economic times?