Snack Attack! Rooar!

How many times have you come home from work and felt like this?  You’re so hungry, you just start shoveling food in your mouth, whatever you can get your hands on.  You don’t care if its the “kids” cookies or chips, or if it’s leftover birthday cake that’s still got a little life left in it, you’re just HUNGRY.  And how many times have you regretted the food choices you made during your hunger attack?  I’ve heard from numerous people that this is the most difficult part of staying healthy or staying on a ‘diet.’ Those moments when you are so hungry you are willing to eat anything.  Unfortunately that ‘anything’ usually falls under the category of junk food if you’ve got it around.

Fortunately, there are two ways to prevent this situation from happening. There is ALWAYS the option of not having those things in your refrigerator or pantry.  Of course, if you have kids or a spouse who aren’t on board with your healthy eating, you may catch a little (or a lot) of grief for this.  But ask yourself this; if this is something that YOU shouldn’t be eating, is it something you want your kids to be eating?  Again, I am not a parent and I don’t pretend to understand how difficult it may be to get your kids to eat well and make good choices, this is just how I see it from the outside looking in.  Although children may not pack on the pounds as easily as adults, their little bodies are dealing with these foods the same way you are. When sweet and starchy things are consumed, their blood sugar goes up, the insulin is released, and the more sugar there is, the more insulin is released…. and they are slowly becoming resistant to the benefits of insulin.  This is what leads to Type II Diabetes.

Another way of avoiding these after-work/school binges is by preparing yourself for them!  You KNOW you’re going to get hungry, have something healthy handy to eat while dinner is cooking.

Snack Readiness Ideas:

1. Cut up fruits and vegetables and put them in baggies in the fridge to grab.

2. Have protein such as string cheese, lunch meat, cottage cheese, and hard-boiled eggs in your fridge.

3. Leftovers!  Make an extra serving at dinner (especially favorites) ready to heat up when you or the kids get home.

A Few Snack Recipes:

GraNOla

I think this tastes even better than regular granola and without the grains!

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop up raw almonds, pecans, walnuts (whatever your favorite nut is) and place them on the baking sheet in the oven for 5-7 minutes, you’ll start to smell them toasting.

Toss in a bowl with dried fruit (such as raisins, apricots, figs, cranberries) and add some unsweetened coconut flakes!

This really does curve that taste for cereal….I actually think I might go make some right now.

Pumpkin Yogurt

1 c. plain yogurt

2 T. pumpkin puree

1 tsp. honey

Mix in a dash of pumpkin pie spice and you’ll be surprised how much you like this!

You can do the same thing with any fruit, there’s SO much sugar in the flavored yogurt you buy from the store.  Although the plain yogurt may need to be doctored up a bit, you can control what goes in it and ultimately what goes into your body.

Trail Mix

1 bag jerky

2 or 3 cups of nuts

1 or 2 cups unsweetened dried fruit

Chop up the jerky and mix it into the nuts and dried fruit and keep in an airtight container!

Cocoa-nut Balls

3  c. walnuts or almonds
3 c. pitted dates
3/4 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 c. coconut flakes
4-5 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3-4 Tablespoons of water

In a food processor pulverize nuts and dates until combined.

Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until they are combined. (You may want to split the batch in half if you think your food processor might die….but I take my chances.)

Once you have a sticky batter, roll into 2 inch balls. Let chill in the fridge and enjoy!

Pumpkin Seeds

(If you over cook them a bit, they taste like popcorn!)

Take pumpkin seeds out of the guts of your pumpkin, or buy raw pumpkin seeds at the store if they have them.  Let them dry completely.

Drizzle seeds with olive oil and add some salt, maybe seasoning salt, maybe garlic–it’s up to you!  I like a little cayenne pepper.

Bake for 5 minutes or so at 350.  They’re delicious, mix them with some nuts or add them to your trail mix if you like.

If there are any ‘junk foods’ that you just can’t live without and would like to know of some healthy options to curb your cravings, let me know what they are and I’ll see what I can do!  The bottom line is there’s NO excuse to eat junk when you’re hungry; prepare yourself for success and you’ll feel better about the choices you made and the lifestyle you’re living! Happy snacking!

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