I am a huge fan of snacking. I need to eat every few hours or I'm no fun to be around. Snacking between meals is a great way to keep your blood sugar stable, and decrease the possibility of overeating at meal time. The key to snacking is making smart choices, which means staying away from the vending machine and those donuts in the break room (I know they're tempting).
Snack time is a great way to get in extra servings of food or nutrients you struggle to get enough of, such as fruits and vegetables, or fiber or calcium. Some of my favorite snacks are air popped popcorn, dried fruit (like cranberries or blueberries), and yogurt. The key to snacking is keeping your portions small, for nuts or dried fruit you don't need more than a handful to keep you going until meal time. Snacks should generally be about 150-200 calories, depending on your calorie intake the rest of the day.
Now that football season has started, weekend snacking is back in full swing. Did you know NFL fans may gain an average of 10 pounds during football season? It's hard not to when every Sunday you're surrounded by chips, wings, and beer. But there are healthy options to snack on between touch downs. Vegetables like carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, or broccoli florets are all easy to grab and go great with hummus. Air popped popcorn, roasted chick peas, or apple chips also make great, healthy snacks. For more healthy snack ideas to bring with your to game day, check out Nuts.com, they have a registered dietitian on staff who has some of her own top picks.
One of my all time favorite snacks is chex mix, but it can be pretty high in sodium (especially the store bought variety). So last weekend I decided to try and make a low sodium chex mix in a crock pot. The only sodium in this chex mix comes from the Worcestershire sauce (about 675mg of sodium for the whole batch), but the spices still give it a great flavor. Bring it along for your next tailgating party!
9 cups Chex cereal (I used half rice and half wheat Chex)
3 cups pretzels
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
Whisk together the oil, Worcestershire sauce and spices in a small bowl until combined. Add the cereal, pretzels and nuts to your slow cooker. Pour the sauce mixture evenly over the cereal mixture; then toss for about a minute until everything is coated.
Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring at the 1 hour, 2 hour, and 2 1/2 hour marks to prevent burning. Once done, enjoy! Or to keep for later, spread the chex mix on cookie sheets or parchment paper and allow to cool to room temperature. Then store in an air tight container for no more than 3 weeks.
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.