Smart Summer Snacking

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With a summer full of outings, road trips and cottage visits, smart snacking is a part of everyone’s to-do this summer. I’ve got some great suggestions of what to include in your snack bag for wherever you go.

Key criteria for smart snacks include:

  • High in fibre and low in sugar.
  • Colourful fruits and veggies are a must.
  • Choose wisely with packaged foods and read your labels.

Nuts and seeds

My new summer favourite is Wonderful Pistachios. They’re a high-fibre, smart snacking option. They make snacking more mindful because cracking them open slows you down, as your hand goes back and forth into the bowl. Also, the visual cue of shells helps you see how much you’ve eaten. There are four different flavours to choose from: Roasted Unsalted, Roasted & Salted, Salt & Pepper, and Sweet Chili. My family is divided in favourites between the S&P and Sweet Chili. The brand recently did a survey on snacking habits which found 74% of Canadians snack when they’re bored. It also found that men are more likely to consume a snack until there is nothing left!!

Oat-based granola bars

I say oats because they’re an excellent source of fibre and slow-releasing energy. Our go-to at the moment is MadeGood and their bars and bites. I do love that they add in veggie powders so my kids are getting another serving of veggies in their snack, even if they won’t eat the actual veggies that time. This is also an allergy safe snack. Safe of the top food allergens (always read the label to confirm if you have an allergy), and low in sugar, I do have a stash in my car for not only road trips for those times when you’re rushing and need a quick, healthy snack. They have bars, bites, Crispy Squares and launching this summer, soft baked COOKIES!

Cut up veggies

This is a staple in any snack offering. Carrot sticks, celery, zucchini, broccoli, colourful peppers, and cucumber are great places to start. Add in some fibre-rich dip like Hummus (recipe below), Beany Green Dip (recipe below), guacamole, tzatziki or edamame bean dip.

Beans

One of the most fibre-rich foods that you can eat, beans make a tremendous snack. Edamame beans, shelled or still in their pods are also high in protein. Either the shelled or pods can be defrosted quickly warmed in a bowl and covered with boiling water. Put into a container and sprinkle with sea salt.

All the other typical snacks like chips are so high in sodium and lack fibre. Filling up on the fibre rich snacks means you feel fuller for longer as well as keep appetite in check. Those sugar cravings can hit at any time and fibre-rich foods help ease the feeling of needing something sweet.

For more on healthy summer snacking, watch my clip with George on CP24!

Beany Green Dip

1 can (14 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil or cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive, hemp or flax oil
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 handful dinosaur kale or other leafy green, chopped

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or with a hand blender – then it’s ready to eat.

Note: It’s best eaten fresh but can be frozen in baby-safe food containers for up to 1 month.

Hummus

Hummus is fantastic served on its own or spread on a rice cake. This can also be made with cannellini beans or navy beans. Instead of raw garlic, you can use roasted garlic for a sweeter, milder flavour (see tip below). Remember that you’re not adding salt, so don’t expect this to taste like store-bought.
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).

1 can (14 oz) chickpeas, drained
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend to desired consistency, adding extra water to thin it out or extra olive oil for more flavour. Serve immediately.

Tip: To make roasted garlic, slice the top off a whole garlic bulb and place in aluminum foil. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, wrap the foil together, and bake in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for about 20 minutes or until cloves are tender. Cool, and “squish” garlic cloves out of the bulb.

Note: Can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen in ice cube trays or in baby-safe food containers for up to 1 month.

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