(ARA) – We all know the feeling. That mid-morning grumble or the 3 o’ clock slump, when lunch is a distant memory and dinner is hours away. When a snack attack hits at the office or the kids are clamoring for an after school pick-me-up, where do you turn? Too often the answer is the vending machine or drive through.
You’re not alone. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 93 percent of adults face at least one snack attack a day. But, are we snacking smart?
“Snacktime is when most people fall victim to unhealthy choices,” says Judi Adams, registered dietician and president of the Grain Foods Foundation. “Given that more people partake in snacking than actual full-course meals — it’s critical Americans understand how to make better snacking decisions.”
“There’s a science to smart snacking,” says the Food Network’s Robin Miller, of Quick Fix Meals. “An ideal snack should help keep energy levels stable throughout the day. Grain foods, such as bread, crackers, pretzels and pitas, are a great foundation for a healthy snack.”
To encourage Americans to snack better, Robin Miller and the Grain Foods Foundation are looking for the healthiest and tastiest snack recipe. Home cooks from across the country can submit their smartest snack recipe, using bread or other grain foods, to win a personal chef for up to two weeks. The prize includes grocery shopping, meal/snack preparation and clean-up.
Some of Miller’s smart snacking suggestions include:
- Combine a carbohydrate with a protein. For the perfect pick-me-up, try hard-boiled eggs with a bread roll or low-fat cheese with low-fat whole wheat crackers — or my favorite, bananas and peanut butter on one half of an English muffin. High-fiber foods paired with protein will help keep you and the kids satisfied throughout the day.
- Keep prepared snacks on hand. It is important to have nutritious snacks on hand to outsmart a snack attack. No time to pick up fresh fruits? Pack 1/2 cup of assorted mixed nuts, animal crackers and dried fruits in plastic baggies and always keep them handy. Or, cut a full-size sandwich into squares for a quick bite at work.
- Eat assorted fruits, vegetables and grains. Smart snacking habits are based on eating simple, nutritious foods like cereal, pretzels, whole grain crackers, carrots with fat free ranch dressing, strawberries, watermelon, mangoes, pears or any fruit of your choice with cottage cheese or yogurt.
The easy snack recipes below are some of Miller’s personal and family favorites.
- 3 cups whole grain O-shaped cereal
- 1½ cups small pretzels
- 1 cup cheese crackers or animal crackers
- ⅔ cup blanched almonds
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as canola)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Spread mixture out on a baking sheet, in an even layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.
For more recipes and to enter the Grain Foods Foundation Smart Snacking Contest, log on to www.grainpower.org.
Courtesy of ARA Content