Tag Archives: Healthy Snacks

Little Extras for Help with Weight-Loss Success

The two basic things you have to do to have a successful weight-loss journey is consume fewer calories (eat less) and exercise more.  It is a pleasure to report that it is possible to do both of these things without feeling deprived or overwhelmed. Just add these two little extras for help with weight-loss success.

Add a Little Extra Exercise to Your Daily Routine

Little Extras for Help with Weight-loss Success
Image by AndreyPopov

A simple way to increase the level of exercise during your week is by adding a little more effort into your daily activities – the things you are going to do anyway.

For example, we all have to do housework right? So, that is an easy one! Instead of taking your time and working at a leisurely pace, work faster.

As you sweep and mop the kitchen floor, put some oomph into it. Work at a steady, brisk pace. Stretch your arms and use your muscles. This will definitely increase your heart rate, and burn more calories.

When it’s time to clean the windows, reach up as high as you can – stretch to the top of the windows and be sure to get into the corners. Then, buff the glass to a high sheen, which will involve a little more elbow grease than normal.

When you scrub out the tub and the shower, do it with energy and a song – make those tiles shine.

Play fun music and dance when you sweep, mop or vacuum.

Work for longer periods of time – 20 to 30 minutes of active cleaning is much better than 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. It gives you more time to get your heart rate going and a better boost to your metabolism.

These are things you can do to keep your house sparkling and build the new you. So, start throwing in an abundant amount of gusto for extra calorie burning and body shaping.

Add Two Healthy Snacks to Your Daily Meal Plan

A great way to focus on success with your weight loss journey is to plan what you are going to eat in advance. When you shop ahead and know exactly what you will be eating, temptation to fall into old eating patterns – and indulge in foods that will throw you off track are taken out of the equation.

Be sure to include at least two healthy snack options in your daily plan. They should not only be healthy choices, but foods that are easy to grab when you are feeling a little out-of-sorts – and also handy when you are on the go.

Planning ahead ensures that you will eat healthy snacks that you enjoy as well as satisfy your hunger. Make sure they are nutritious and satisfying, and fit in with your diet all at the same time.

You can find suggestions for healthy snacks everywhere – in books, magazines and all over the Internet. Just be sure that they are in keeping with your diet of choice and give you the nutrients you need.

You can find a few good options at the more health-focused stores (Trader Joes, Sprouts, or Whole Foods), but read labels VERY CAREFULLY if you are buying pre-packaged snacks. Many of them have hidden sugars, additives and empty calories, which will NOT be good for your weight-loss journey. Try to stick with fresh fruits, veggies, raw nuts (use roasted peanuts) and seeds, etc.

One of my favorites is my version of mixed nuts (macadamia, almonds, pecans, and pistachios) with a few dark chocolate chips in the mix (use the chocolate chips sparingly).

Make small snacks packs of two tablespoons each and keep them available. Toss ONE into your lunch bag each day. It is a also good idea to have one in your car cubby for a quick pick-me-up when you need it – a much better choice than a candy bar.

Another excellent choice is a generous serving of fresh blueberries, raspberries or strawberries with a dollop of Crème Fraiche (or plain Greek yogurt with a little organic honey) – YUM!

It is important to find your own preferences that fit your personal taste and dietary needs. Set aside time each week to prepare home-made options that can be stored and used whenever you need them.

In Summary

Try these two little extras for help with weight-loss success. Adding a little extra exercise and adding two healthy snack options each day will make a big difference on your weight-loss journey. They will help you reach your destination – a healthy, fit and happier life.

Learning to Eat Healthy

Forgive me for digressing a bit from this series.  My recent episode with the heat and loss of my air conditioner for several days reminded me of the challenges of continuing to eat healthy when it is incredibly hot. Because of that I wanted to share a few of my favorite hot-weather recipes.

Today I am back on track with ideas and information that can help you focus on a healthier lifestyle, learning to eat healthy all the time, and feeding your family well – or at least focusing on making changes that will help you reach those goals eventually.

One of the most difficult parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and learning to eat healthy is knowing how to choose the right foods – and doing so, over the long-haul.

What we eat is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in building and sustaining good health and a general sense of well-being. Because of that, it is worth taking the time to learn about nutrition and how to make wise food choices. Coming up with fast and healthy meal ideas becomes easier with time and practice.

The key to creating nutritious and simple meals and snacks is understanding the kinds of foods you should eat and learning how to balance those foods in your diet. To develop this understanding, you must first be aware of where most people go wrong in their diet choices.

There are so many ways to stray off the “good nutrition” path that I could probably write a book on that topic alone; but for today, let’s look at the easiest way to stray – which is: allowing yourself to get extremely hungry. The hungrier you are, the less likely you are to make good choices of the foods you eat.

Don’t fall into that trap. Far too often, people worried about weight control make the mistake of trying “not to eat” breakfast and sometimes lunch. As a result, they end up ravenous and stuffing themselves later in the day with anything that is available – typically unhealthy foods.

Image by Syda Productions
Image by Syda Productions

We have talked about this before, but I just want to emphasize a few points before we move on.

The best approach to eating healthy throughout the day and living a healthy lifestyle is to start the day with a good breakfast. Then, pack (or plan) two healthy snacks (one for the a.m. and one for the pm.), plus a healthy lunch.  If you can be diligent in following those steps, your eating habits and your health will begin to improve dramatically. (Note: the links will take you to earlier articles on those subjects.)

Which brings us to the next point – the easiest place to start eating healthy is with your snack choices.  This requires two critical steps:

  • Get rid of all the unhealthy snacks in your kitchen (that includes the fridge and pantry – or any other place you may be stashing them).
  • Keep ONLY good snacking options in your home.

In other words, throw away (or give away) the potato chips, cookies, protein bars, sweetened yogurt, and prepackaged snacks of any kind. Then, stock your shelves and your fridge with fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

When you are hungry, it is much healthier to reach for a handful of raw nuts than a handful of potato chips. Nuts are filled with nutrients and also quell your sweet cravings. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts should also be incorporated into your meals, so having them on hand serves a dual purpose.

The best part is – the foods you can see easily and reach quickly are the foods you tend to eat, which makes having good food around the quickest way to begin forming new and better eating habits.  When your kitchen is well-stocked with healthy foods, packing your two snacks and a healthy lunch is easy.  Make a commitment to this simple change and begin NOW!

On Monday, we will be discussing – planning healthy dinners. Be sure to join us.

Healthy and Simple Mid-Morning Snacks

The key to healthy snacking is choosing wisely. By mid-morning, the energy from breakfast has been used up, hunger is building and the stomach begins to rumble. If you wait until lunch to replenish your energy, chances are you will overeat at your mid-day meal.

Mid-morning cravings and stomach pangs are usually the result of low blood sugar and the best way to avoid that mid-morning low is by planning for and enjoying healthy and simple mid-morning snacks.

Let’s look as some easy-to-prepare, delicious choices:

Fresh Fruit

Fresh FruitFresh fruit is the first and best choice for snacking in the morning. You can either take a piece of fruit whole (in its natural wrapper); or, if you have access to a refrigerator at work, you can prepare fresh fruit snacks before you leave home.

The easiest options next to a piece of fresh fruit are sliced melon (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew), sliced mango or papaya, grapes, fresh berries etc. Wash, peel, slice, hull (prepare as necessary), place in a small container and you are set.

Fruit Pick-Me-Up


  • 1 small apple
  • 1 small tangerine
  • ½ cup of blueberries
  • ½ cup of strawberries


  1. Slice the apple into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Peel the tangerine and separate the sections.
  3. Wash all berries thoroughly and drain.
  4. Place all of the fruit into a small plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

You can eat the fruit au naturale, without any sugar (which is my preference); or top with plain Greek Yogurt and a little local honey for sweetener – or pack the yogurt and honey in a small cup (on the side for dipping).


Oatmeal is another spectacular mid-morning snack and blood sugar booster. Oatmeal bars and even oatmeal cookies (if they are low in sugar) can be just the pick-me-up that you need to get you through to lunch.  Or – try “Oatmeal-to-go” as explained in an earlier post.

Bowl of hot oatmeal breakfast cereal with fresh berries
Image by elenaphoto

If you are really pressed for time, grab a packet of instant oatmeal. Add water and pop it into the microwave for a healthy boost. There is a wide variety of flavors to choose from – maple and brown sugar to peach flavored. These small meals can be a wonderful addition to your diet without adding a lot of fat and calories.

Nuts and Seeds

A handful of raw nuts is the easiest, portable snack I know of (next to an apple, banana, or orange).  Put a large handful of nuts into a plastic snack bag and you are ready to go. You can also try a mix of all the nuts you enjoy. As I mentioned in another post Sprouts has the best prices for raw and salted nuts – Trader Joe’s is my 2nd choice.

Salted vs Unsalted

If you prefer salted nuts, try mixing half salted and half raw.  It gives you some salt without overdoing it. This also works well with sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Mixed Nuts

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup salted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries


  1. Combine all nuts, chocolate chips, and dried fruit in a small bowl.
  2. Mix well and divide into 1/2 cup servings in small snack bags. You have nine days of snacks prepared. All you have to do it grab and go each morning.

This combination of nuts, seeds, and a small amount of dark chocolate chips is perfect for a quick snack in the morning or afternoon. The chocolate chips and dried fruit provide enough sugar to give you a little bit of a quick energy boost; and the nuts offer energy that burns more slowly.

Whole Wheat Toast and Applesauce

You can purchase larger containers of unsweetened pure applesauce (no sugar or additives) or you can buy single-serving sized portions to carry to work with you.

In the morning, toast one slice of whole grain bread and slice it into four strips that are just the right size for dipping.

Whole wheat toast dipped in applesauce is sweet, crunchy and filling, making it one of the best snacks for mid-morning munchies. If you do not like applesauce, you can use yogurt for dipping, as well.

Yogurt and Flax Seeds

  1. Choose ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt and either flax seed or sunflower seeds.
  2. Sprinkle the seeds onto the yogurt and add a dollop of local honey and a pinch of cinnamon.

You can either buy small containers or one large container of plain Greek Yogurt that can be divided into small container for each day of the week.  All you have to do each day is add the seeds and honey.

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and the seeds add both vitamins and nutrients that are important for a busy lifestyle. Flax seeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids that are considered vital for good heart health. They actually contain more of these good fatty acids than fish. As a result for those of you who do not like fish, flax seeds are a great alternative for getting that important nutrient.

Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and antioxidants that are necessary for overall health as well as being great for your skin.  Try fresh crisp celery sticks filled with cream cheese or peanut butter, sprinkled with sunflower seeds. YUM!

Tuna Fish Spread

  • 1 can plain white tuna in water
  • 1 large tablespoon Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
  • Dash of lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 fresh, crisp celery sticks


Evening before:

  1. Slice ends from celery sticks and wash well (wrap in damp paper towel and place in crisper in the refrigerator).
  2. Open tuna and drain well.
  3. Add mayo, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix thoroughly, cover with Saran Wrap and place in refrigerator
  5. In the morning, spread tuna mixture into the 4 pieces of celery, wrap in foil and pack in a cooler to take to work.
  6. NOTE: This can also be made with Greek Yogurt if you prefer – try it both ways.

This snack is healthy and nutritious and you can make enough for several days with just one can of tuna.  Be sure that the snack is well refrigerated at all times before eating.

Healthy mid-morning snacks are not difficult to make; but, it does take time to plan your snacking options. It is wise to plan your snacks for the entire week (both mid-morning and mid-afternoon). Once you have decided on your snacks, be sure to add the necessary items to your grocery lists.

Having a plan in place and the right foods on hand is the perfect way to avoid snacking on, potato chips, candy, sodas, and cookies during the week.

If your office has a microwave and refrigerator, you definitely have plenty of options for healthy homemade snacks and lunches.  If not, it may take a little more work, but it is worth it – and maybe it’s time to start lobbying for the microwave and refrigerator.

Smart Snack Choices to Keep You Healthy

Snack choices can increase chances of a successful outcome for any diet or throw you completely off track. And . . . if your goal is a healthy lifestyle, smart snacking is critical.

The idea of healthy snacks may seem completely impossible when your goal is to eat healthy, nutritious foods. In fact, healthy snacks may sound like an oxymoron because the word snack immediately brings to mind foods like doughnuts, potato chips, ice cream and cookies. Let’s look at some guidelines for smart snack choices to keep you healthy.

There are many delicious, wonderfully healthy snacks that are a vitally important part of your daily intake especially when your meals are spaced more than four hours apart. A tasty nutritious snack prevents starving yourself for a few hours and then gobbling up anything you can find, which are typically foods that are not good for you and kill your appetite for a healthy meal later.

Healthy snacking requires planning (the same as your meals). The process is much easier if you keep a large selection of nutritious foods on hand in your frig and pantry so you always have healthy options.

The first step to healthy snacking is to understand the types of snacks that are good for you.

Fruits and vegetables provide many delicious alternatives to potato chips and cookies. That may seem too simplistic, but when you replace just one cookie or candy snack with a piece of fruit or vegetables strips, you immediately cut a large number of calories, plus eliminate excess sugar, fat, and sodium from your diet.

Image by Christine
Image by Christine

Small changes make a huge difference in your diet and your health. The next time you want to reach for a salty bag of chips, try carrot sticks instead. You get the crunch that you crave without the excess salt and fat. If carrots are not your favorite, there are other options such as, celery, broccoli, jicama, and cauliflower. If you do not like them plain, peanut or almond butter are yummy with celery and jicama; and hummus is a great dip for all veggies. These snacks are not only low in fat and calories but they are extremely high in nutrients that many people are lacking in their diets.

Fruits are wonderful for snacking and most come in their own wrapper! In other words, they are easy to pack and carry. An apple, a banana or an orange can be the perfect portable snack for busy people on the go. Fruits contain natural sugars that your body craves when you are hungry, which makes them very satisfying. Eat an orange instead of that morning candy bar and enjoy the same fulfilled feeling without the calories, excess refined sugar, and fat.

If your diet includes a caffeine or salt restriction, fruit is one of your best options for snacking. Even small amounts of chocolate contain caffeine and fat. Oranges, apples, and bananas are completely caffeine free!

Image by Pakhnyushchyy
Image by Pakhnyushchyy

My favorite snack replacement for chips is raw nuts. When you buy nuts from the vending machine they are usually salted and often have preservatives added. Avoid those if you can. Buy nuts in bulk (Spouts has the best prices, as a rule). You can buy salted, unsalted, and raw. The best choice for snacking is raw and unsalted; but small amounts of salted nuts are also acceptable in most diets.

When you work long hours with minimal breaks, you probably notice those physical lows when you become very hungry and tired. It is during those times that healthy snacking is important. Your body is telling you that it needs refueling.

Many of us eat breakfast very early before leaving for work or school and lunch may be scheduled six hours later. Six hours is too long to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. On your morning break, it is important to feed your body in order to sustain your energy until lunch.

Eating a healthy snack between three and four hours after breakfast also prevents the desire to eat a huge lunch. Everyone is well aware that a heavy, calorie-filled lunch makes you sleepy a couple of hours later. Always eat a light, healthy lunch; then, have another healthy snack mid-afternoon to sustain your energy until dinner time.

Nutrient-filled snacks between meals are especially important when you work outside or in extreme conditions. They not only keep the body energized, they help to keep you warm.

Good snacking habits are a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy, nutritious snacks keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day, which is important for the following reasons:

  1. Hunger can make you grumpy and short tempered. Snacking controls mood swings that come from low blood sugar levels, especially between meals.
  2. A small snack keeps your blood sugar from dropping and eliminates those sudden feelings of fatigue during your work day.
  3. Erratic blood sugar levels are one of the main causes of diabetes and other metabolic diseases – conditions you want to avoid if at all possible.

Fruit is one of the best snacking choices to sustain a stable blood sugar level when you have long stretches of time between meals. Freshly-squeezed fruit (and vegetable) juices are another option for delicious snacking. You can either make your own, or find a local “raw” juice establishment to make them for you.

Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are not your only choices.  There are plenty of options for healthy snacks.

  • Low fat cheeses like mozzarella and cottage cheese.
  • String cheese is a portable snack that even children enjoy.
  • Sunflower seeds and raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
    • Sunflower seeds contain healthy fats. Dried fruits are sugary but provide a burst of energy that can pep you up for the rest of the day when eaten after lunch.
  • Make your own mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit (go easy on the fruit because of the sugar content).
    • Packaged mixes are not recommended unless you can find a mix that has no additives and sugar added, which can be difficult.
  • Green tea and ginger tea – lightly sweetened with local honey.
    • Green tea contains caffeine, but it also contains many antioxidants that are beneficial to your skin and overall health.
    • Ginger tea is excellent to settle a stomach and decrease bloating that often happens after a large lunch.

Snack foods are available everywhere in vending machines, but BE SMART in your choices.  Make healthy decisions when it comes to snack foods. Read labels carefully and avoid anything that has ingredient names that you cannot pronounce – or added sugar or sugar derivatives. A small bag of chips or pretzels is an acceptable snack on occasion – in others words a couple of times month (and choose those without additives).

The biggest problem comes from allowing yourself to become extremely hungry and making unwise choices just to quell the hunger. This can be solved by eating a good healthy breakfast, and carrying nutritious snacks that can satisfy your hunger, energize your body and help you to avoid eating foods that are more harmful than helpful.  When you plan your snacking options, you never get to the point that you will need to grab ANYTHING that is handy because you are starving!

Healthy Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Low Fat and Low Sugar Suggestions

Finding healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth can be challenging. Not everyone can satisfy their sweet tooth with fruits, even if they are at peak perfection ripeness and could be classified as ‘Fruits from The Garden of Eden.’ If you among this group, you have my sympathies. But, there is good news! If fruit does not fulfill your needs there are many excellent alternatives – healthier dishes that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

The first step is to replace empty-calorie, refined white sugar with unrefined raw sugar or honey. Studies have shown that using unrefined raw sugar or honey instead of white sugar at an average consumption of 130g/day will offer an increased intake of antioxidants equal to the amount found in a single serving of fruits or berries.  You can also substitute Stevia™ for sugar. Stevia is an extract from the sweet leaves of the stevia plant and has zero calories.

Low-Sugar and Low-Fat Ways to Satisfy the Sweet Tooth

Ideas for dishes that will satisfy your sweet tooth without adding a lot of fat and calories:

•    Chocolate – delicious! Unfortunately, most commercial chocolates are extremely high in calories, plus loaded with sugar, and offer little nutritional value.

A wonderful way to satisfy the craving for chocolate and get some nutrition at the same time – chocolate covered fruits! Dip your favorite fruit in melted chocolate (preferably dark chocolate) and let it cool. Voila! You have a healthier (than normal chocolate candy) and very satisfying treat. Experiment with different fruits to find your preferred combinations (Strawberries, blueberries, and cherries are my favorite.)

Nuts are also a great choice for dipping – use raw almonds, pecans, and walnuts for the best nutritional value – and enjoy the crunch!

•    Ice cream – who doesn’t love ice cream? Ok, maybe some people don’t, but most people do love ice cream, and commercial ice creams are not particularly healthy.

Homemade IceCream
Image by Madlyinlovewithlife

The solution – start making your own. Buy an ice cream maker! Or not! There are many simple methods to make ice cream at home even without an ice cream maker. Check out this article: How to Make Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Machine.

The advantage of making your own ice cream over commercial ice creams is that you can use honey or unrefined raw sugar, fresh fruit; plus, no added preservatives, artificial flavors, or vegetable oil. Yes, I said vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is a common ingredient in many commercial ice creams. I find it interesting that it is listed on the label as edible vegetable oil – what a relief! (LOL) Homemade ice cream will still include cream in the mix; but, you can use low-fat cream.

Try this little trick.  Make a fruit smoothie with low-fat milk; a drop or two of vanilla, a handful of ice and you may trick your mind and taste buds into believing that you are drinking a milk shake.

•    Yogurt – many people love this alternative.  Use Greek low-fat plain yogurt with your favorite fruit, juice of one orange, sweetener (honey, Stevia™, unrefined sugar), and you have a delicious, healthy yogurt smoothie.

Different types of honey work amazingly well with yogurt. You can also freeze the smoothie and enjoy homemade frozen yogurt. I guarantee that it will offer considerably more nutritional value than any commercial frozen yogurt.

•    You are lactose intolerant and struggle with a sweet tooth.  I know, I know – milk smoothies, frozen yogurts and ice cream will not work for you – but you can still satisfy your cravings.

Try sorbet. Sorbet is basically frozen fruit puree or juice, but churned in order to make it scoopable like ice cream. Add honey or unrefined raw sugar and freeze it using the same method suggested for ice cream noted above. You can also enjoy a chilled fruit slushy, or you can freeze the fruit puree or juice in an ice tray and enjoy frozen fruit popsicles.

•    Atkins Nutritional Bars are wonderful products created for those following the low carb Atkins Diet that does not allow consumption of any type of sugar.

These bars are healthy and delicious. Flavors include, brownies, healthy M & M type candies, chocolate bars, peanut butter bars, raspberry breakfast bars, and many more – all 100% sugar free. They also offer a great line of shakes, also sugar free and very tasty –  flavors: chocolate, vanilla, coffee and strawberry.

The next time your sweet tooth demands attention, try one of these simple ideas for healthier  sweet treats.  ENJOY!