Category Archives: Healthy Snacks
Healthy Low-Cal Snacks & Snacking Tips
Many people grocery shop with the best intensions, searching for low-fat low calorie items. However, just because an item is low calorie or low fat doesn’t mean it is the best choice. A great example of this is Greek Yogurt.
Before you can decide which yogurt to purchase, you need to ask yourself “what type of fuel do I need?” and “what are my goals?”. What do I mean? When I added my yogurt into my LoseIt app, I realized my yogurt was one of the small things throwing off my goals. I was getting more carbs than I wanted and I noticed my protein wasn’t quite as high as I expected (especially at breakfast). As I looked a little closer, I discovered the difference was my yogurt. I had gone from plain greek yogurt to vanilla (and had no idea it was non-fat).
Non-Fat vs. 2% Fat Greek Yogurt
As I compared the 2 yogurts, I was surprised to see how different their profiles were. See for yourself!
The non-fat vanilla yogurt has zero fat, but a whopping 20g carbs (and 20g SUGAR!) – and only 14g of protein compared to the 2% which only has 7g carbs and 17g protein. Don’t boycott non-fat vanilla yogurt just yet though. There’s more to this story than just choosing low-cal, low-carb foods.
While the 2% plain yogurt is ideal for a breakfast, snack or meal, there is one time of the day the non-fat vanilla yogurt would the perfect fuel for you – after a workout. You see, after a workout you want protein and sugar (to help push the protein through your system quickly). You also don’t want to have anything that would slow digestion in it (like fat). So, the non-fat vanilla yogurt would be a great fuel for those times you can’t get a post-workout protein shake. Since you can buy yogurt in small containers, this makes a great alternative to a shake if you are traveling or in a pinch.
When it comes to breakfast, stick with the 2% plain (unsweatened) greek yogurt. The fat will help the yogurt stay with you longer, keeping you full and energized. You get more protein and also less carbs, which is great for all of us trying to limit carbs and sugar while building or maintaining muscle mass.
Remember, not all yogurt is created equal. If you have some regular yogurt in your fridge, you need to compare labels. For instance, plain Yoplait yogurt has 33g carbs and ONLY 5g protein! That’s MORE calories, MORE sugar, MORE carbs and much less protein and nutrition for the fit peep.
Even Yoplait Lite has double the carbs and sugar than Chobani’s plain Greek yogurt. This means you will be hungry about 30 minutes after you eat the stuff, and that’s not what any dieter wants to hear!
As you track calories and learn more about nutrition, take your time studying labels and shopping for foods for fuel. Dieting isn’t just about choosing low-calorie foods, it’s choosing healthy foods that give you the nutrients you need without the extra riff-raff (sugar, fillers, etc). When you eat like this, you’ll discover you aren’t really dieting at all, you are just eating smarter!
Eating healthy is always easier when you plan ahead. Part of my planning ahead includes making a healthy breakfast that’s easy to heat and eat! This week, my breakfast of choice is a low-fat spinach quiche made with Daisy low-fat cottage cheese.
One thing I love about adding Daisy Cottage Cheese to my quiche is because it’s packed with protein (13gms per 1/2 cup 90 calorie serving). Since I like to get the majority of my protein from whole foods, Daisy Cottage Cheese is a great way to boost protein in your diet naturally. (FYI: Daisy Cottage Cheese has no preservatives, thickeners or additives and only has ingredients, where other brands have more than 10).
Shopping Tip: Look for the LIGHT blue lid (that’s the low fat one. Daisy’s regular cottage cheese has a dark blue lid). Also, alway look at ingredients when shopping. Less is more! I took a photo of the ingredients for Daisy (below left) compared to another popular brand (below right). Look at all the extra ingredients. Who wants to eat Xanthan gum and Guar gum? lol
63 Calorie Quiche
16oz Bag of Defrosted & Drained Spinach
1 Cup Egg Beaters
2 Cups Low-Fat Daisy Cottage Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 Cup Crushed Crackers or Croutons
6 1 Medium Tomato, Diced
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Cook the spinach in a pan and drain well. Mix spinach in with all the ingredients. Pour in well greased muffin pan (I use Pam) and cook on 325 for 45 minutes. The recipe makes 12 63-calorie yummy low-fat, high-protein, low-carb mini quiches! BAM!
Change it up
Use this same recipe and just make some subtle changes to make your own new creations. Swap cheddar cheese for feta cheese or tomatoes for mushrooms. Change spinach for broccoli or asparagus. Dress your recipe up but adding a sliced cherry tomato on top. Don’t care about calories? Use 2 cups of cheese instead of 1/2 cup of cheese to richen the recipe (NOTE: that will make each quiche 120 calories instead of 63 calories).
Enjoy 2 quiches for only 125 calories, 16.4g of protein, 3.9g carbs and 4.8g fat. Look at this awesome pie graph! See all that light blue – that’s ALL PROTEIN!! WOOOT!
I log my recipes in the LoseIt app to track calories and nutrients. What I love about making quiche in a muffin pan is that I have 12 perfect individualized portions, making tracking calories a breeze!
10 Ways to Cook With Cottage Cheese
1. Use cottage cheese instead of sour cream to add creaminess and a bunch of protein to a baked potato.
2. Use cottage cheese to thicken homemade dressings (using blender)
3. Use cottage cheese in place of Ricotta cheese in Italian dishes. (90 calories per half cup vs 216 calories)
4. Add a nice dollop of cottage cheese to a salad.
5. Use pureed cottage cheese instead of sour cream for a creamy healthier chip dip
6. Add cottage cheese to your smoothie for a creamier protein shake with even more protein.
7. Use cottage cheese in place of oil when baking.
8. Use cottage cheese instead of mayo when making tuna salad. (Puree it to make it creamy if you don’t like it chunky)
9. Mix cottage cheese with salt, pepper and herbs for a yummy and healthy cracker spread.
10. Mix or layer with fresh pineapple, apple sauce, peaches, pear or mandarin oranges and top with a dollop of whipped cream for a healthy dessert or breakfast.
HOW DO YOU EAT COTTAGE CHEESE?
Join us in our Twitter Chat! Daisy wants to know how you “Power Your Way Through the Day”. Getting the proper fuel we need can be hard on the go. Getting protein, outside of eating meat or having a protein shake, can also be challenging. Daisy Cottage Cheese is the perfect protein source. Daisy is extremely versatile and can help power your breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and pre/post workout. Learn more about the Daisy Difference April 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm EST #DaisyDifference! See you there!
When it comes to bars, I’m a bit picky. I want at least 10gms of protein, but I also don’t want that many calories. I also want it to taste good. I’m not going to eat cardboard just because it has protein in it. Sorry, I want to enjoy my food thank you very much. 🙂 Ufortunately, many bars are extremely high in calories. Thank goodness, more bar companies are making smaller versions of the old 30gms-of-protein-and-a million-calories kind of bars. Even if it’s packed with protein, it normally tips the caloric scale for most calorie-conscience people. Then SMART enters the world.
Before I give you the scoop on SMART, I should tell you I have probably 5-6 types of bars in my pantry right now. I like chocolate ones, peanut butter ones, caramel ones, crunchy ones and gooey ones. Some are higher in calories and protein, some are lower in calories and protein. Some make great snacks, and some are more like a meal replacement when I’m in a bind. What I’m saying is, there are different bars for different people and different purposes. The SMART bar, however, is definitely one of my favorites for light snacks and breakfasts.
I could tell you how healthy it is, that’s gluten free, low in sugar, and all that jazz (and don’t worry, I will in a sec), but first I’m going to just tell you what my taste buds say about the bar – because honestly, if they don’t like it, it ain’t going to make it past them to my belly!
As a coffee lover (don’t hate! Everyone has their vise, and mine is coffee – LOVE IT!), I really enjoy having a bar with coffee when I don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast. However, some bars are too sweet for me and they upset my stomach. The SMART bar is an oatmeal bar that is mildly sweet, which makes for a great breakfast bar on the go. Unlike regular cereal bars, the SMART bar is low in sugar (only 4gms!), which is 50-80% less sugar than many of it’s competitors. It has 10gms of protein and 3gms of fiber so it is filling and stays with me. And the best part, is it’s SUPER low in calories – only costing me 130 calories to eat!
Not only is this bar low in calories and tastes good, this bar is sure easy to take on the go because it doesn’t melt or crumble like a lot of chocolate covered bars. This makes it a great bar to keep in your car, purse or gym bag in case of emergencies. It also makes it a great bar to grab for the car ride to work (like you see at the top of this blog). I actually took this on the way to work last week when I discovered I nearly forgot about an early morning appointment. Since this bar is a soft bar with a nice moist solid consistency, it makes eating and driving mess-free. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten out of my car only to discover a doo-doo brown chocolate smudge on the back of my pants because a bar crumbled in my lap with each bit! ha! (Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens too???!!!!) 😛
After I read the label, I knew it would crush a lot of snack bars. Most low-calorie breakfast and snack bars are much lower in protein, but higher in carbs and sugar. Protein bars that have 10gms of protein or more are normally much higher in calories, carbs, sugar and fat. And, if you are going gluten-free or paleo, a lot of those bars are high in fat and/or carbs but lower in protein than I prefer – and normally way higher in calories. While I will still enjoy all these type bars too, (like I said, there is a place for all of that), I just love having a low-calorie healthy option.
It’s one thing for ME to tell you I like this bar, but it’s another thing for YOU to see how it compares for yourself. So, I did a little research. I picked a few different types of snack-like bars (from cereal bars to paleo bars) that were comparable to the SMART bar to compare nutritional information.
After doing the research and listing the information, it is clear that SMART bars are a SMART choice if you are looking for a bar low in calories, carbs, fats and sugars with a healthy dose of protein in it. Awesome snack bar! Check it out!
Smart Bar FAQs
- Low in Calories
- 50-80% less sugar
- Certified gluten free
- 9g of whole grains
- 3g fiber
- Certified gluten free, organic rolled oats
- Real organic or baked fruit
- 38% organically raised ingredients
- No hydrogenated oils
- Cocoa and palm kernel oil is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Fairtrade, and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
- Minimal artificial sweetener (Stevia) because it relies mainly on the sweetness mainly from fruit
- Not Vegan or Kosher (however they do use a certified porcine free gelatin source.)
See all the FAQ information on their website.
WIN A BOX OF SMART BARS
What flavor would you like to try? Apple or Blueberry? Comment below for a chance to win a box of SMART bars to try out yourself! I’ll pick 3 winners HERE and 2 winners on Facebook when you share this comparison chart from my facebook page!
(Note: Cranberry coming soon)
Detour SMART bars are available online at www.detourbar.com and bodybuilding.com, and in select retailers including GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin World, with the bars becoming more widely available over the coming months.
The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of National Car Rental.
“If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
5 Tips to Packing & Preparing for Fitness Success
The key to sticking to your healthy eating habits is being prepared. If you have something healthy to eat as soon as you first feel hungry, you are a lot less likely to grab fast food or hit a vending machine. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. So pack to eat healthy and act healthy!
1. Bring healthy snacks that travel well like 100-calorie packs of almonds, beef jerky, fruit, protein bars, ready-to-go protein drinks, or even a bag of microwave popcorn if you know you are going to have a microwave. (Here is a pic of my snack cooler on my last trip, which held seltzer water, mango, apple, cheese stick, protein bar and cashews.
2. Travel with a water bottle as often as you can to prevent dehydration – and to keep your tummy full.
3. Bring all the tools you need to help you be excited to hit the hotel gym, like wear your favorite pair of tennis shoes, make a new playlist on your ipod, or plan to watch a show on your ipad while you do cardio. If it isn’t fun, and you aren’t prepared, you are less likely to do it.
4. Pick up health and fitness magazines when traveling to keep you motivated and focused on healthy things while flying or traveling long distances.
5. Request a refrigerator and hit the grocery store if you are staying in your hotel for a long time. You’ll probably save money from not eating out as much, plus you’ll eat a lot healthier too!
Eat This, Not That: Making Healthier Menu Choices
Whether you are ordering room service, or at a restaurant, here are a few tips to making healthier choices.
- Order egg beaters instead of an omelet
- Choose ham or lox instead of bacon or sausage
- Whole grain toast or bagel instead of white bread or a bagel
- Choose fruit, yogurt or oatmeal instead of cereal, pancakes or pastries
- Order a salad instead of a sandwich
- If you do order a sandwich, only eat half at lunch, and save the other half for a snack
- Choose grilled foods over fried food
- Pick the meal with the least amount of ingredients and fat
- Put half our meal in a to-go box before you even take the first bite
- Choose simple meals over multi-ingredient meals
- Choose whole foods, like grilled meat with green veggies, instead of pasta or rice dishes
- Choose fish or chicken over red meat, and sweet potato over white potato or white rice
- If you must have pasta, rice or bread, have it during the day, when your body will use those calories. Your body doesn’t need carbs to sleep so trade high carb sides for low-calorie green veggies like broccoli, asparagus, spinach or salad.
- Choose a salad that only has 1 or 2 high-calorie foods on it, over a salad with nuts, cheese, fruit, dried fruit and a fattening dressing to boot!
- If you are going to have an alcoholic beverage, choose the drink that will take you the longest to consume, like red wine. Sip it slow
Food Prep Tips:
The best way to avoid high-calorie meals on the go, is to prepare food in advance – even if you travel. Even though Steve travels once a week, we tupperware our food, throw it in a cooler and take it with us – whether we are just traveling across town – or out of town! We never go anywhere without something to eat or snack on.
CLICK HERE to get some of these recipes.
Continue conversation with #HealthyBizTravel
If you love your salty snacks at night, there are very few choices that may fit your caloric budget. Last night I was feeling adventurous. I looked in the refrigerator and took a mental note of what I had on hand. I was craving chips. Since I had zucchini, I googled “zucchini chips” and saw a few sites to give me some ideas. I didn’t measure anything or even read the full recipes. My thought was – how could you really go wrong?! And I was right!
I sliced zucchini up into very thin pieces. Sprayed pam on the pan and on the zucchini. Then I sprinkled garlic, sea salt, cracked pepper and parmesan cheese on top, baked on 425 for 20 minutes and BAM! I had my yummy loc cal snack! 1 whole zucchini is only 45 calories! It was a fun experiment.
Here are some fun recipes for veggie snacks:
3. Veggie Chips (roots like beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc)
4. Herbed Veggie Chips (zucchini, squash, sweet potato, carrots)
6. Carrot Chips
10. Beet Chips (saving the best for last! These are my FAV!!!)
I first discovered this originally as a “chicken dip” nearly 20 years ago. It was served with wheat thin crackers at a gathering at one of my old friend’s house. I immediately fell in love with this healthy snack and used to make it all the time – until I ate it so much I got sick of it. ha! (isn’t that what we do? We wear something out that we love!)
Although I try to stay away from crackers, this “chicken dip” is great on top of salad greens or eaten alone. It’s also perfect for eating healthy on the go since you don’t have to heat it up. It has a TON of flavor and is super healthy!
Chicken Peppercorn Salad
3 Chicken Breast, cooked chopped and shredded
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Small Diced Tomatoes
25 Finely Chopped Green Olives
1/2 Cups Green Onion
1 TBS Fresh Minced Garlic (I buy it in a jar for easy cooking)
2 TBS Whole Black Peppercorn (amount is your preference)
Salt to taste
FOR SNACKING: Makes approximately 8 1/2-cup servings. 74 calories per serving, 10gms of protein. Eat with celery sticks, low-cal crackers or alone.
FOR MEALS: Makes 4 1-cup Servings. 148 calories and 20gms of protein. Serve cold over greens with a freshly squeezed lemon or greek style vinaigrette (lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper).
Please forgive me Diane Kawar if I butchered the original recipe. I never wrote it down, so I’m just going by memory here! ha! ….but it’s still a Pfiester Pfav!
This is why many people can’t seem to shake the weight (pun intended). They add protein to their diet, forgetting it’s adding extra calories too. As a result, they gain weight or slow progress.
If you want to lose weight, those calories need to be shaved off somewhere else to make room for the calories coming from protein. Just because it’s protein doesn’t mean it’s “free calories”. Although they are good calories, they are still calories. So, in order to reach your goal, you need to set a budget for your shake matching your needs.
1. The Weight Gainer: Weight gainers can add protein to their diet without really worrying about the calories. If someone is a hard gainer, they probably need both fat and muscle weight in order to increase strength and size. So you are the lucky dog that can ignore this entire blog. 🙂
2. The Dieter: Dieters need to be in a caloric deficit. This means, they need to take in fewer calories than they are burning. In order to budget how many calories are coming from protein, simply multiple the number of grams of protein you are trying to get a day by 4. Since there are 4 calories in one gram of protein, this will give you the number of calories that are required to get your total grams of protein per day. But remember, that is just for the protein. That doesn’t include other ingredients you may add in a shake.
3. The Maintainer: This person wants to either preserve what they already have, or reshape their physique but still remain the same weight. This person will need to trade some fat and carb calories for protein calories so it evens out. In the end, they’ll still be eating the same amount of calories, but they will just be getting more protein.
FitStudio nutritionist Toby Amidor points out some of the worst offenders in smoothie land.
Smoothie King – NOT SO SMOOTH!
· Forty fluids ounces of “The Hulk Strawberry” weighs in at 1,928 calories, 64 grams of fat, and a whopping 250 grams of sugar.
Jamba Juice – IS JAMMING YOU WITH CALORIES!
· An original “Peanut Butter Moo’d” creamy treat has a staggering 770 calories and 109 grams of sugar.
CLICK HERE for fun and creative Designer Whey shake & protein recipes
When Chobani hit shelves here locally, the news quickly spread around the gym. This healthy snack was not only delicious, but it was higher in protein than regular yogurt. That’s why we literally have a whole drawer dedicated to it in our refrigerator. We actually eat so much of it, we have an overflow in our 2nd fridge in the garage.
There really aren’t a lot of snacks to choose from that are naturally high in protein. Before Chobani yogurt, the closest thing we could come to was cottage cheese. And, if you are like me, there is no way anyone is getting that lumpy mess down my throat. I just can’t get over the texture.
Then Chobani came and saved the day. Before Chobani I was eating regular yogurt, which can have double the carbs as greek yogurt, especially if you get the kind with fruit in it. It also had practically half the protein Chobani has. For a girl who’s not a big meat eater, the more protein I can get the better.
Why Eat Chobani? Well, for my fitness peeps, eating high-protein snacks, like Chobani (and Designer Whey bars, my other favorite high-protein snack), means preserving muscle and giving your body what it needs to repair muscle after hard workouts. For my non-workout folks, it means preventing muscle loss, which is even more important as we age.
This is why there was no surprise Chobani sponsored for the Olympics. What a perfect FIT! (pun intended!) They naturally power people every single day!
Way to go Chobani! Thank you for powering me – and Team USA!
– B –
I Am a Proud Chobaniac:
If you’re like me, and crave salty snacks, then you are always happy to discover something healthy to feed your craving. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of salty healthy snacks available beside popcorn, so imagine my sheer joy the first time I tried edamame (boiled or steamed soy beans in the pod).
My first edamame experience was at a local asian restaurant, Bangkok. After they came out, I remember thinking “what do I do with that? Do I eat the whole thing or am I supposed to pop the beans out?” Yes, Steve and I were edamame tards. After gnawing on the whole thing for a bit, shell and all, it didn’t take long to discover the stiff stems were not very chewable. We quickly figured it out and they became a part of our regular diet.
They are easy to cook too. I buy the bag of frozen edamame and steam them (which can be done traditionally or in a microwave oven for 5 minutes). Then I sprinkle soy sauce, and/or salt, on them and begin snacking!! Today I cooked them and then threw them in my cooler for the beach. They were an awesome cold snack too.
The greatest part of this salty wonder is they are truly healthy. Most people are just happy to find snacks that are just “not unhealthy”, but edamame is as healthy as it is tasty. Half a bag of edamame is only 150 calories – and a very equal balance of calories I might add! 12.5gms of protein, 6gms of fat, 11gms of carbohydrates and 5gms of fiber. Look at the graph to the left. You can see that edamame gets 31-36% of the calories from each substrate.
Another thing I like about edamame in the shell, is it takes work to get the bean out. Not that it is a big job, because it’s not a bother at all. However, it slows down how fast we typically eat snacks. I enjoy the taste more and the entire snack takes longer to eat than many other similar snacks. Any snack that can slow us down from inhaling it is a good snack!
So, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, next time you are craving something salty to snack on, go steam up some beans!
How to Destroy a Diet in 2 Hours: So, you are dieting and you do good aaaaaaall day long, only to blow every salad, protein shake and healthy snack down the drain in the last 2 hours of the day. Sound familiar?
Why is it we feel the need to snack at night? Will our life really come unraveled if we don’t have a grip on a chip and a drink to sip? Honestly, Steve and I are amazed how much of a struggle this is – and I believe it destroys a lot of very healthy diets.
I eat squeaky clean all day long, only to blow it with popcorn, pretzels or nuts. I always have good intensions, but I always eat more than I should in the end. Could it be worse? Sure it could, but is it preventing me from getting rid of that last bit of fat? Of course it is!
Here are some of the lies we feed ourselves so we can feed ourselves.
1. I’ve eaten so good today, I can afford it.
2. At least they are healthy snacks.
3. It’s probably not that many calories.
4. I’ll just have a few.
5. I can run it off in the morning.
1. You’ve eaten so good today, that’s exactly why you should skip it! Protect your hard work!
2. You can get fat on healthy foods too. Extra calories are extra calories.
3. It’s probably a lot more calories than you want to admit.
4. You never have just a few. You will have “just a little more” and “just a little more” until you’ve eaten too much or you’ve eaten the entire thing!
5. If you are trying to lose weight, you should be running off stuff you’ve already eaten, not more stuff.
6 TIPS TO COMBAT LATE-NIGHT SABOTAGE
1. Plan to be disciplines. Decide BEFORE you get a snack-attack what you can and can’t eat.
2. Avoid alcohol, because not only is that MORE calories but it makes you stupid! The relaxation you feel from a glass of wine is just enough to make you “relaxed” about your diet – and before you know it, you want some cheese with that wine.
3. Stick to prepackaged foods if you have a problem with stopping, like 100 calorie popcorn or jello pudding.
4. Make room for 200 calories of snacks at night so you don’t completely deprive yourself. When you countcalories, you are much more in tune with your body and your food choices. Be creative – try something new like sliced cucumbers with vinegar, salt & pepper or sliced strawberries over a cup of frozen fat free Cool Whip. The thinner the slices, the longer the snack lasts.
5. Have a protein shake. If you are craving sweets, a protein shake can be tasty and super satisfying – plus it helps muscle repair overnight. I like Designer Whey protein powder because it tastes great and is low in calories.
6. Just say no to snacks and yes to your goals. It wouldn’t kill you to just sip on water instead. Sometimes it’s best to not even start snacking – because you may not stop!
Cool Cucumber Salad, by McCormick:
2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (4 small or 2 large cucumbers)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar (STEVIA)
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Dill Weed
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper, Coarse Ground
Pinch McCormick® Red Pepper, Ground
Bonnie’s Strawberries Parfait:
1/2 Cup Frozen Fat Free Cool Whip
6 Thinly sliced strawberries
1 Tablespoon of Grape-Nuts
The frozen cool whip has texture more like ice cream. The thinner the slices of strawberry, the more bites you get. Grape-Nuts just add a bit of crunch to it!! Trade the cool whip for vanilla greek yogurt for more protein and nutrients. Totally yummy!