My Healthiest Snack Idea

I’m often asked for healthy snack ideas. 

My initial response is:

How often are you actually hungry when you reach for a snack?

More often than not, when we have a hankering for a snack, it’s not triggered by an empty stomach.

Anytime you reach for food when you’re not physically hungry, it’s a big red flag that you don’t want to feel or deal. 

That is, there’s an uncomfortable emotion you don’t want to feel (boredom, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, anger, etc.) or a challenging act you don’t want to deal with (work, conflict, chores, bills, etc.)—or both, as they usually go hand-in-hand.

Do This First
Of course, I have plenty of suggestions for healthy snacks. However, my very first suggestion is that you pause when a snack attack strikes and ask yourself:

Am I truly physically hungry?

If yes, proceed to have a wholesome snack.

If no, reflect on what form of nourishment you’re truly hungry for. It could be hugging a loved one, talking with a friend, stretching your body, writing in your journal, meditating under a tree, or playing with your dog. 

Walk This Way
For many years, I’d grab a snack whenever I had writer’s block, which happened at least once a day. Food was my remedy—albeit a temporary one—for relieving my stress and frustration, and for avoiding the painful task of racking my brain for just the right words.

Once I started to pause and honestly check in with myself, I discovered what I really needed was to walk to the front door, not to the kitchen. I needed to rejuvenate my mind and body by taking a walk break outside.

In addition to not eating food I didn’t need and getting some exercise, a walk alleviated my stress, boosted my mood and got my creative juices flowing, which helped me bust through my writer’s block. It’s a habit I still practice today.

So, the next time you reach for a snack, hit the breaks and ask yourself:

What am I truly hungry for?

You may be surprised by what you discover.

 

Indian-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Wow your friends with these spicy little nibbles!

Super healthy, this addictive snack is easy to make and will fill your home with the most enticing aroma. Feel free to play around with the spices and seasonings. I like to double the recipe and fill glass Mason jars to give as gifts or take to parties.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are high in fiber, protein and antioxidants. They can help lower cholesterol, reduce heart disease risk, combat cancer and regulate blood sugar levels.

Indian-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned chickpeas (organic, no-salt added preferable)
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
     
  2. Rinse and drain chickpeas then pat dry with a towel
     
  3. Combine everything, toss well
     
  4. Spread in a single layer on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet
     
  5. Roast, tossing a few times, for 40-50 minutes, or until the chickpeas are golden and crisp
     
  6. Cool


Happy, Healthy Snacking!

    Crowd Pleaser: Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

    With many gardens soon to be overflowing with cilantro and backyard barbecues in full swing, this zippy recipe is a delicious change from the usual ho-hum hummus or chips and dip

    While store-bought hummus can be great in a pinch, homemade hummus is much more flavorful and satisfying, and often more healthy thanks to no added sugar and preservatives or excess salt and oil.

    Most of us know beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Cilantro is also a good source of dietary fiber as well as iron and magnesium. Plus, it aids in digestion; settles the stomach; relieves gas; prevents nausea; decreases inflammation, blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL); and raises good HDL cholesterol (HDL). I'm sold.

    This hummus whips up quickly, and because it doesn’t include tahini, the ingredients can be easily found if you don’t already have them on hand.

    As with most recipes I make, I’ve reduced the oil in this one from 1/2 to 1/4 cup, and add more as needed.  And, because I love cilantro, I use a bit more than 3/4 cup (ok, a lot more, but I really like this herb). Once you’ve blitzed everything together, you may find you want to add more lime, a dash more salt, or a bit more oil or water if it’s too thick. I like to add a dollop of chipotle sauce for a little smoky heat. 

    Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus
    Makes: 2 cups

    Ingredients:

    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 (15 oz.) cans organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (about 3-3 1/2 cups home-cooked beans)
    • 3 tablespoons lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro
    • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

    Instructions: 

    1. Place garlic in a food processor and process until minced, about 5 seconds.
       
    2. Add beans, lime juice and salt. Process into a puree.
       
    3. With the processor running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube.
       
    4. Process until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes.
       
    5. Add cilantro and jalapeno and pulse throughout, about 30-60 seconds.
       
    6. If needed, adjust seasoning and/or consistency according to taste.
       
    7. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Enjoy with toasted whole-wheat pita bread, raw veggies, baked pita or corn chips, or whatever else sounds yummy to you.