Summer is finally here and that means longer, hotter days with even more hectic schedules from graduations to vacations! As our schedules fill up, many people fall into the fast food traps or maybe just not eating enough. Being aware of the fuels you provide your body can make a huge impact on the way you feel throughout the day, which is why snacking is so important.
According to a study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” in February 2010, approximately 97 percent of Americans snack, getting an average of 24 percent of their calories from snacks. With snacking becoming such a huge part of our lives, it is more important than ever to choose nutrient rich foods such as, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and nuts or seeds! Snacking throughout the day prevents overeating, keeps blood sugar levels steady, adds to your intake of essentials nutrients and increases energy levels to keep your metabolism fueled all day long.
Snacking can’t be any easier than in summer. This is the perfect season when fruits and vegetables are abundantly stocked in markets, which makes healthy choices both cost effective and super delicious! The best snacks for summer are simple and easy: melons, peaches, plums, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, corn, sweet peppers, asparagus, and kale to name just a few! The list is endless and the best part you can just munch on them raw.
Fruits and vegetables are your superfood best friends! Powerful antioxidants in fruits and vegetables promote healthy skin, stronger immune system, better digestion, more energy and even protects you from cancer and many other diseases. Did you know if you eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables everyday you can lower your risk for heart disease!? It is amazing what these superfoods can do to help you live a healthy balanced life.
Snacks are made to be simple and delicious! I always follow the three rule, which is to eat a combination of lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates at every meal or snack time.
During summer I always have my go to snacks on hand!
1. Greek Yogurt & Granola (maybe add a bit of fruit or nuts)
2. Fruits & Nuts: Get creative here. There are endless combinations!
My favorite is fresh blueberries and walnuts
3.Caprese Skewers: 3 simple ingredients! Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves
4. Whole Wheat Bread with Peanut Butter topped with Bananas
This is my favorite snack with the perfect combination of protein, carbs and healthy fats!
5. Peanut Butter & Celery or Peanut Butter & Apples
Note: You can use any nut butter you like! I love almond butter and peanut butter the best.
6. Frozen Fruits: Go crazy and freeze what fruits best suit you!
My favorite is freezing grapes, kiwi, blueberries and raspberries.
Fun Fact: 1 cup of grapes is about 62 calories! They are packed full of power antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may help prevent or slow many types of cancers.
7. Vegetables and Hummus
When you are short on time and need a quick pick me up this is a great mobile snack. Cut up any of your favorite veggies (1 cup) and enjoy with about 4 ounces of store bought or homemade hummus!
8. Smoothies: The perfect on the go snack. Get creative with your ingredients!
Throw some fruits, a bit of greens (kale is my favorite) with some nuts or Greek yogurt for added protein then blend! Add ice if you want it cooler or coconut water if it’s too thick!
Banana Blueberry Smoothie Recipe
½ cup greens (I used spinach)
½ frozen banana
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy in tall cold glass. This is a perfect afternoon smoothie when it’s just too hot out!