This post has been contributed by:
Caroline Verrone – Food Blogger, New York City
you only live once… so let’s eat!
You set a New Year’s resolution to get healthy in 2016. You have made it through January, stuck to your goal to eat well and exercise, and are feeling good! Reward yourself – take a day off from the gym or have that cookie you’ve been eyeing – but just don’t make it the norm. From personal experience, this is now about the time when resolutions start to slip away... remember how great you feel and keep pushing forward!
One of the biggest resolution downfalls for many is that sluggish feeling around 3pm. The time when your eyes begin to get heavy and your stomach starts to grumble. All you want is a satisfying treat to get you through the day, so you go to the vending machine or the closest deli to grab a bag of pretzels or a cookie. It’s time to stop giving in to the temptations and give your body what it really needs to get over that afternoon slump and power you through the end of the day! Read on for some of my favorite snacks that will energize you and boost your mood – most importantly, they are all delicious and nutritious. All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead.
Grapefruit Chia Seed Pudding
Make this snack the night before or even make a few of them at the beginning of the week. It comes together in a minute and is packed with healthy protein, omega 3, fiber, and vitamin C.
Servings: 1; Prep time: 5 minutes; Total time (including chilling): 4 hours
· ¼ cup greek yogurt
· 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
· 3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
· 1 teaspoon honey
· 2 tablespoons chia seeds
· 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit slices, cubed
In a small bowl, combine greek yogurt, almond milk, grapefruit juice, and honey. Add the chia seeds and stir. Pour into a small container, cover, and place in the refrigerator to sit for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Top with grapefruit slices.
Peanut Butter Oat & Coconut Balls
These oat balls are absolutely delicious, come together in a matter of minutes, and the ingredients can be easily tweaked based on what you have in your pantry. One ball provides a good source of protein, fiber, magnesium, and Vitamin E.
Servings: 6-7 balls; Prep time: 5 minutes; Total time: 5 minutes
· ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
· ¼ cup sunflower seeds
· ¼ cup organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
· 5 tablespoons creamy all-natural peanut butter
· 2 teaspoons honey
· Pinch of salt
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Use a spoon or a small ice cream scoop to form balls about 1 tablespoon in size. Use your hands to shape and smooth them. Eat right away or place in the refrigerator to set further.
Spicy Greens Energy Smoothie
Raw ginger and a pinch of cayenne are sure to wake you up! You can make this ahead and refrigerate at work. Just be sure to shake it up before you drink it after it has been sitting. This smoothie is full of all the best vitamins and minerals, along with omega 3’s and fiber to curb your hunger.
Servings: 1; Prep time: 5 minutes; Total time: 5 minutes
· 1 cup spinach, chopped
· ¼ of an avocado
· ¼ cup cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 2 inch piece)
· 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped (about ½ inch piece)
· ¼ cup almond milk
· ½ lime, juiced
· Pinch of cayenne pepper
In a blender, place all the ingredients with ½ cup of ice. Blend until smooth. Squeeze more lime juice on top, if desired.
Whole Wheat Trail Mix Cookies
This cookie is a healthy snack made up of whole grains and oats, but it will also cure your sweet tooth with pieces of dark chocolate, dried currants and natural coconut sugar. Best of all, it tastes great!
Servings: 20-24 cookies; Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 13-14 minutes; Total: 50 minutes (includes resting the dough)
· 1 cup whole wheat flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
· ¾ cup coconut sugar
· 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· ½ cup rolled oats
· ¼ cup sunflower seeds
· ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
· ¼ cup dried currants or dried cranberries
· ¼ cup semi- or bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped (add more for additional sweetness)
Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the butter and coconut sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down edges of bowl if needed. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, then add the egg yolk and beat fully. Add the vanilla and combine. With speed on low, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Pour in the oats, sunflower seeds, pistachios, currants or dried cranberries, and the chocolate. Mix just until everything is combined, but don’t over mix. Place dough in the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes. Use a small scoop to form cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 13-14 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
Steel Cut Oat Granola Parfait
The steel cut oats make this granola stand out from other versions because of its texture and flavor. It also has a lot less sugar than a number of other store-bought brands. It is great as a snack by itself or as a parfait with pineapple and ginger puree and pomegranate greek yogurt.
Servings: 2; Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 1 hour; Total time: 3 hours 10 minutes (includes chilling)
· 1/2 cup steel cut oats
· 1/4 cup mixed nuts and seeds (I use almonds, sunflower seeds and pecans)
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· Pinch of salt
· 1 tablespoon organic honey
· 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
· 2 tablespoons mild-flavored oil (such as vegetable or coconut)
· 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
Pineapple & Ginger Puree:
· 2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
· 1 teaspoon lemon zest
· Juice of 1/2 lemon
· 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or very finely minced
· 1 teaspoon organic honey
Pomegranate Greek Yogurt
· 1 (7 ounce) container greek yogurt
· 2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds + more for garnish
Granola: Preheat oven to 300. On a baking sheet, toss together the oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Pour honey mixture all over oat mixture. Use a rubber spatula to combine the honey mixture and oats mixture so that all the dry ingredients are equally coated. Spread into a single layer on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes then remove and toss around so that all sides get golden brown. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on the baking sheet for at least 20 minutes before breaking up and transferring to a bowl. Toss with dried cranberries once cooled.
Puree: In a small saucepan, add pineapple, lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger, and honey. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 - 60 mins until the pineapple is completely softened. Stir every 8-10 minutes.
Place pineapple mixture in a food processor fitted with a metal blade (or a blender) and purée until smooth. Place into a container and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours. Serve with oats and yogurt.
Yogurt: Place yogurt and pomegranate in a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Garnish with whole pomegranate seeds.