SNACK TIME! That won’t spike your blood sugar

Since the new year I have really been stepping up my snack game. Also, I am well aware that I sound like a young child when I say it is time for my snack.

I HATE having to go to the vending machine in the afternoon and get something that is usually overpriced. Not to mention that all of the options are processed foods!

What I mean by processed food is food with ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Processed food is meant to be non-perishable and last long in a vending machine. In order to do this, food companies have to strip nutrition from the food and fill it with ingredients like grain, salt, and sugar.

Not to say that you can’t treat yourself to candy or chips once in awhile, but I find when you don’t plan ahead, you make the unhealthy option easier every single day. Think about it, how often do we really chose the over-ripe piece of fruit from the coffee shop instead of a muffin?

The vending machine option is most likely going to have refined carbs and sugars with a high glycemic index, meaning that will give you a huge blood sugar spike. When this happens combined with the 2:30 in the afternoon feeling, will make you lethargic and sleepy. So even though you just had a little bag of Doritos (that just left you wanting more), those carbs are going to hit you quick! This means your body is going to have to release a huge amount of insulin to try and compensate.

The goal for my snacks is not low carb or no carb, but these types of foods keep my energy up for the day. Also when I am concentrated on being hungry I am so much less productive. The snacks that I recommend are packed with nutrition that your body will thrive on. These snacks are appealing on the go options that are also fresh, I don’t really eat “bars” that often. Overall if you snack on the food that you body needs you will feel satiated longer, and you can work productively until your next meal. The bag of skittles or starbursts gives no one a good feeling of satiation.

There are so many blog reads that detail fancy meal prepped snack or cute vegan recipes. When I pack a snack I can’t afford to add more than a minute or two to my routine. I can barely meal prep for dinner as it is, so the simpler the better.

Pistachios: Really any nuts make a great snack. I personally buy unsalted pistachios, I love the taste and without the salt they do not dry out your mouth. Pistachios also have a significant amount of B6 and phosphorus which your body and energy levels will thank you for.

**Believe it or not it is difficult to find grocery stores that sell nuts that are left unsalted. The best place I have found to buy unsalted nuts is Aldi, and they aim to have the best prices.

Babybel Cheese: Another snack I love to have is a small serving of cheese. In particular I like Babybel cheeses, they each have 10 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat (which is not bad for you, your body uses this as energy) you can find the nutrition here. This little cheese will not disrupt your digestive system, and will actually keep your body satiated. And I have to mention I love peeling of the wax off of Babybels.

Bone Broth: This is really trendy in the health community right now, but for good reason. If you don’t already know all the benefits of bone broth, (you can read more about the bone broth skepticism here) the collagen in it is said to be beneficial for joints, inflammation and immunities.

Even if there isn’t the research to back up such miraculous claims, I love drinking plain warm bone broth out of a tumbler. I noticed wellness instagramers drinking it and at first it seemed kind of wild. But I have to tell you, it is so savory and I love drinking it while i’m eating something sweet like my next snack pick…

Green Apple Slices: Fruit is a great snack, but choosing your fruit wisely is important. Green apples have pectin which is a type of fiber that the body loves, and although they are not going to create a large spike in your blood sugar like a banana or honey crisp apple would.

I find that I eat more of the apple into the “core” when I slice it up. If you are going to be eating your apple slices later in the afternoon and want to keep them fresh and not going brown, my pinterest trick is to slice the apple and then assemble it back together like puzzle pieces. Once you have done that, put a rubber band around it, and keep it in a cold place. I was amazed at how fresh my apple slices stayed when first trying this.

Sweet Potatoes: I have noticed nutritionists love sweet potatoes. In Okinawa Japan, one of the Blue Zones (areas with most 100-year-olds living) one of the factors of their longevity was during WWII with little food, they lived on a diet of their main viable crop, orange sweet potatoes. (To learn more about the Okinawans I highly recommend reading Blue Zones by Dan Buettner or go here).
Sweet potatoes as an on the go snack?

Yes they are so easy to make and store for the next day! You can make them as a baked potato, peel the skin and mash with a little butter and cinnamon. Or if you prefer, you can peel and dice them and cook them with coconut oil and sea salt. I have been known to eat them cold out of a tupperware midafternoon.

Blueberry Smoothie: Not much to say about this one, blueberries are great for you and taste amazing with a high fiber amount that will prevent a blood sugar spike. Mix in you favorite greens, plain yogurt and maybe even try to substitute a avocado for a banana.

Lifeway Kefir Cup: I just discovered these recently at my local hyvee. Kefir is incredibly good for you gut health, and props to Lifeway for making it with no added sugar! Sub this for that basic yogurt cup that is full of sugar and even artificial sweeteners.

Okay, and my last selection is really for fellow sweet tooths that also deserve a little treat for eating the healthy part of their snack first. This one isn’t actually a snack that avoids a blood sugar spike, but keep in mind moderation is important. Girl Scout Cookies: I have a policy that the first student that asks me to buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies gets my order. So this year a student I work with asked me and I got my favorite Caramel Delights. We are all human and deserve to indulge, what helps me is if I take them out of the box and portion them into two at a time in ziploc bags. This way they last longer and I don’t accidentally eat the whole box in one sitting.

What’s your afternoon snack? What helps you avoid the sugar spike and energy crash in the afternoon? Comment below to let me know!

**Note I do not have a formal nutritionist background, just a wannabe.

Happy snacking!

 

 

Chicken Salad with Avocado Twist

One thing my husband and I have always loved is a good chicken salad sandwich. Now I dig the fiber in some good seedy whole wheat bread, but one thing I cannot get down with is all the mayo that comes with a traditional chicken salad.

My inspiration came from using the same chicken salad that I have adjusted to my liking in the past few years, and trying to make it instead with avocado substitute for mayo. My husband was reluctant at first to try a sandwich that looks so green. After trying it, he attests that the substitution is bona fide delicious, and not just a healthier version.

Don’t get me wrong though, avocados are a superfood. I can find a way to add them to almost any meal. Avocados have the fats that our body needs to keep LDL (bad) cholesterol low and is naturally fortified with vitamins. Also it is high in fiber and low in net carbs which serves my purposes well.

So, here is how I make my chicken salad. I make this recipe to serve two with leftovers that are great on day two, especially as a packed lunch!

Servings: 4-6

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of chicken breasts
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • ½ a yellow onion, finely chopped (you can use red onion too for a spicier flavor)
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • ½ c. relish

Seasonings (these can be adjusted to taste):

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste

 

Method:

  1. Start on stovetop with cooking chicken breasts on medium heat in chicken broth for moisture. To ensure they are fully cooked, cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Set aside when done and let cool.
  2. Make 3 hardboiled eggs with well-cooked center, and cooled in ice water for at least ten minutes before peeling and adding to mixture.
  3. Mash ripe avocados with fork and add to mixture with chopped onions, celery and relish.
  4. Add seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, black pepper and salt.
  5. When eggs are cooled add to mixture and crumble with a rubber spatula.
  6. Remove chicken from broth, cut into chunks and add to mixture. You can also add some extra seasonings to the chicken if you prefer.
  7. Refrigerate mix for at least one hour to let the flavor totally develop.

The great thing about this mix is that the avocado stays green looking and does not turn brown while refrigerated. Like I said the amount of seasoning in this mixture is totally adjustable. I find that the celery salt is a key ingredient. Although I had to search, I found my bottle of celery salt at Walmart.

So there you have it, a recipe high in fats and proteins from the eggs, avocado and chicken. Not to mention the crispness of celery and onions. I have served this recipe with lettuce and tomato, but my personal favorite is to toast the chicken salad on a whole wheat bread with a slice of melted Colby jack. Let me know if you have tried this recipe!

Healthier for you food can taste good,

 

Putting Good In

Diet doesn’t do it justice. My diet has changed dramatically over the past 5 years. This is not uncommon as a 23 year old. My life has gone through huge changes. I was like any other teenager who ate whatever I wanted and when I went to college I discovered Big Macs, Whoops…

Flash forward to realizing that life gets more sedentary and clothes start to fit tighter, I tried to eat less rather that healthy. This is not a great “dieting” strategy. You know those 100 calorie pack of Oreos? Yeah, nobody has ever successfully just had one of those and stopped, that’s why Nabisco is genius. (For more on this concept I highly recommend reading the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Ross).

Anyway, weighing the moral and environmental factors of being a vegan or vegetarian, I realized over a number of years that this was not for me. I think that people are meant to eat animals and you should do whatever you need to in order to nourish your body.

This being said I love a great plant based recipe, and am always willing to supplement beans, nuts and seed for a source of protein. I just don’t do this seven days a week. What I live my life based on is trying to maximize nutrition. Intaking the good stuff. You are what you eat.

Looking back at my nutritional past I am amazed at the number of day I went when I didn’t eat one single vegetable or even a fruit. My body was literally sick, and not serving me well as a vessel. Having poor gut health and inflammation due to intaking a crazy amount of sugar resulted in a permanent bad mood.

Eating healthy is not something that comes easy for me but I actually enjoy doing it, I think of it as a hobby in addition to being a lifestyle. I also am the type of person who is fulfilled by caring for those around me, so curating healthy foods that my most skeptical loved ones like is gratifying.

Cohabiting with my husband was also huge for changing the way we eat. We imposed our bad habits on each other and then we had to figure out how to eat healthy together. Me and my husband have teammate mentality when it comes to everything, including wellness.

I am into the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating healthy vs. indulging. Life is too short, it’s okay to have a cheat once in awhile. Life is also too short to feel sick all the time. Being mindful of what foods makes me and my husband feel good has been key.

We do try to avoid processed foods, simple sugars, and sketchy ingredients. More importantly we love to try and maximize nutrition, feed our bodies and eat products that are responsibly made. When I look back at old journal writing I see that I alway mention that I wish to improve the way I eat even more, this has really manifested in my life in the last few years. I look at my health in a holistic manner and what I put in my body is what I get back in the way I feel. 

Mindfulness is one word I want to embody my nutrition. Putting good food in my body.

All this being said I hope to have a few recipes coming to my corner this month. If I can make them so can you. And if you are a fellow skeptic, my husband is my toughest critic and the taste-tester for my cooking. So they are all Kado + Husband approved.  

Thanks for reading,