Nadia’s Favorite Grab and Go Snacks!

Nadia Madias

An End to Empty Calorie Snacking

Even if you make a conscious attempt to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner you could be sabotaging your “healthy” diet if you are not choosing wisely when it comes to snacks. Whether you are trying to limit your calories to prevent weight gain or you simply want something to tide you over until your next meal, snacking is an essential part of any diet.

An empty calorie is any calorie from food that supplies energy but is not nutritionally balanced. In other words, it is foods that are energy dense but nutrient poor, providing more calories than nutrients, which can lead to weight gain. These calories are primarily made in the form of solid fats and/or added sugars and they can be found in highly processed foods. Some common foods that are culprits of empty calories are pastries, cookies, soda, and breaded/fried foods. These energy dense foods can also have a significant impact on your overall health according to a study that was published in “Diabetes Care.” Their findings concluded that energy-dense foods may increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Although we are surrounded by plenty of unhealthy choices of foods to snack on, there are also many nutritious options out there. I have put together some delicious choices to choose from that will leave you satisfied.

Now for my top 5 favorite snack foods that will nourish your body, keep you fueled longer, and provide you with a balanced diet.

1. Lesser Evil Super 4 Kale and Roasted Garlic Bites
I am raving about these new snack bites that are made from white beans, quinoa, lentils, chia seeds and kale. All their products are USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and of course, empty calorie-free. This is an excellent choice to satisfy your savory craving and it’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants. They have a variety of flavors and products to choose from in case you are more of a popcorn or chip lover.

2. Fage Total 0% Yogurt
At 170 calories and 13 grams of protein this option is incredibly creamy with zero percent fat. At first bite it’s almost hard to believe that it’s not loaded with cream and saturated fat with its remarkably smooth texture. You can choose this as a light breakfast option or a perfect mid-morning snack. It’s also packed with those wonderful probiotics that will keep your gut happy as well.

3. Tapaz 2 Go
This convenient single serve pouch comes with a substantial portion of hummus combined with sea salt lentil crackers. It is made of all-natural, non-GMO ingredients and it provides 7 grams of protein and only 250 calories or less per serving. Choose from a variety of hummus and cracker flavors.

4. KIND
I always make sure to throw one of these granola bars in my purse or GLO bag so that I can reach for a sensible snack when I’m in a pinch. With over 22 bars to choose from, there is a flavor for everyone’s palate. Their motto is to choose ingredients that you can pronounce, such as, nuts, fruits, honey and spices, and with absolutely no artificial ingredients you can be certain that this choice is one your body will thank you for. Start by picking your favorite ingredient and be ready to be amazed at the variety of delicious flavors they have to choose from.

5. My Green Super Smoothie
I combine organic berries, tart cherry juice, Vega One powder, fresh spinach or kale, goji berries and some cocoa powder in a blender. The Vega One powder is an amazing addition to any smoothie recipe. It is free from dairy, gluten and soy, which makes a great option for vegans and it has no added sugar, flavoring, dyes, or sweeteners. I love that the protein is derived from plant-based blends, and it includes all the essential amino acids. The Vega One powder is great on it’s own mixed with water or almond/soy milk and it still provides you with 50% of the daily intake of vitamins and minerals, or you can mix it with any variety of fruits and vegetables for a heartier choice.

Remember to choose wisely when reaching for your next snack.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Sources for this article:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beware-empty-calories
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/4/721.long
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/4/721/T1.expansion.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2571060/?tool=pubmed
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/emptycalorie-foods-vs-nutrientdense-foods-1350.html

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