Power Snacks for a Healthy Lifestyle in 2014!

Article by: Elisa Wallace & Emily Eileen Carter

After the rich indulgences of the winter holidays, January is a perfect time to kick-start your 2014 health plan.  Among the many diet and nutrition plans that abound, one common thread is eating healthy, high protein snacks. Healthy snacks not only quell a growling belly, but they fill you up so you are less likely to overeat at your next meal.  So create some of these power snacks to help get through the day, and make 2014 a nutritious year!

Edamame Hummus

1 bag frozen shelled edamame

2 Tablespoons of tahini

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, peeled

3 Tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Favorite raw veggies peeled and cut for dipping

1. Cook edamame according to package directions.

2. Pulse edamame, tahini, lemon juice, garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, cumin, and pepper in a food processor until mixture is blended. If you want a creamier hummus, you can add 1 Tablespoon of water and pulse.

High Fiber/Protein Crunchy Snack Mix

½ cup dried cherries

2 cups whole grain rice Chex cereal

½ cup roasted pistachios

3 cups Go Lean Crunch Cereal

1. Mix all ingredients together and snack!

Fresh Kale & Strawberry Smoothie

1 tightly packed cup of kale, washed and chopped

1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries

1 cup of nonfat or low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt

Up to 1 cup of ice

1. Place the kale, strawberries and yogurt into your blender.  (If you use fresh strawberries, and are looking for a slushy consistency, you’ll want to add up to 1 cup of ice; if you use frozen strawberries, you may want to add less ice).

2. On full strength, blend the ingredients together until the kale looks like it is finely incorporated into the smoothie Voila! Enjoy your vitamin- and mineral-packed smoothie! **Add almond milk for an added, yet delectable, flavor! Serves two.

Mashed Avocado Snack Spread

¼ avocado, mashed

¼ c chopped fresh or canned, drained, juice-packed crushed pineapple

½ tsp hot-pepper sauce

Pinch of salt

2 multigrain Wasa crisp breads

1. Mix the avocado, pineapple, hot-pepper sauce, and salt in large bowl.

2. Spread over the crisp breads. Enjoy! Serves one.

Very Berry Ice Pops

⅔ c blueberries

30 small fresh mint leaves

1 ⅓ c raspberries

1 ½ c seltzer

2 Tbsp light floral honey, such as acacia

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Layer the blueberries, mint, and raspberries evenly in 6 ice pop molds.

2. Combine the seltzer, honey, and lemon juice in a 2-cup measuring cup, stirring gently until the honey dissolves.

3. Very slowly pour the mixture over the berries and mint. (Leave about ½ inch of space at the top of each mold to allow for expansion during freezing. Adjust the amount of liquid you use accordingly.)

4. Insert handles or sticks into the molds.

5. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Serves six.

Spicy Yogurt Veggie Dip

32 oz fat-free plain yogurt

Garlic powder to taste

Onion powder to taste

Seasoned salt to taste

Cut-up fresh veggies

1. Line a strainer with a coffee filter or white paper towel. Place the strainer over a bowl (this catches the liquid that will drain off the yogurt).

2. Spoon the yogurt into the filter-lined strainer.

3. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

4. Season the yogurt lightly with the seasonings suggested above, or add freshly chopped herbs such as parsley or rosemary. Use as dip for fresh vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, radishes and celery.