Make Snack Time Count
(Family Features) During this busy time of year, it’s easy to let nutrition slide. That’s why it’s important to have healthy snacks ready to take with you so you can keep your energy up while you’re on the go.
Choosing wisely will let you get the most out of your snacks. For example, soy is a complete plant protein that contains all nine essential amino acids needed for human growth and health, and it’s lower in saturated fat and higher in fiber than other animal protein sources.
Beyond nutrition, choosing the right snacks can help keep hunger at bay so you can focus on shuttling from one activity to the next. Research has shown that soy fiber and protein – found in snacks such as edamame and many nutrition bars – keep you feeling full longer and help you avoid the temptation of sugary on-the-go foods filled with empty calories.
“When my customers are looking for snack ideas, I advise them to layer protein, fiber and carbohydrates,” said registered dietitian Peggy Balboa, a supermarket nutritionist with Mariano’s grocery stores in Chicago. “This is key to feeling full longer, and soy has it all. For example, adding half a cup of soy nuts to trail mix can provide four grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates. Choose ingredients from the grocery bulk section, add the mix to a snack baggie, and you’ll have a grab-n-go snack for a mid-afternoon energy boost.”
When every minute of your busy day counts, make your snacking count, too, with these nutritious ideas:
- Make your own trail mix, filled with a combination of salty and sweet flavors and a blend of textures to satisfy your cravings. Pretzels and nuts, such as soynuts or roasted edamame, add a delicious crunch, while dried fruits and berries lend a softer sweetness.
- Protein-packed versions of your favorite cereals are now on the market, and they are great to throw in a baggie for a snack or add as a granola topping on yogurt.
- Raw veggies can be easily carried in a baggie and while they taste great cold and crunchy, you can enjoy them at room temperature, too. Experiment with different flavors for variety: zucchini, squash and broccoli are all tasty choices alone or dipped in low-fat dressing or hummus.
- For the kids, get creative and make snack time enjoyable. Serve little ones a variation of ants on a log, filling celery sticks with soynut butter before placing the raisins on top, which makes for a school-friendly option without nut allergens.
- Smoothies made with soymilk, soy yogurt or tofu are a fun way to get your protein and key nutrients on the go. This smoothie takes five minutes to make and packs 12 grams of protein, along with a healthy kick of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron.
Go Green Soy Smoothie
- 1 cup light or unsweetened vanilla soymilk
- 1/2 banana, cut into pieces and frozen
- 1/2 ripe pear, cored and chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth. Serve immediately.