The daffodils are poking up! They know it's spring even if the weather doesn't. Get ready to shed winter coats and winter sluggishness for t-shirts, shorts and outdoor activity. No, we don't mean a crash diet. Just a few tricks can gradually help you look and FEEL better, ready for the warmer, brighter days.
Start with snacks, those nibbles that sneak on pounds when you are not watching. Turn snacking into energizing. Gradually trade "not-so-good-for-you" snacks for tasty, healthier ones. Gradually.... because change is hard; doing a little bit at a time can mean more success. Try getting rid of one junky snack twice a week; then 3 times a week.
Skip the packaged snacks.... at least most of them. They're expensive and loaded with unhealthy junk. Try these lower-in-calories snacks that also give you antioxidants for better health and energy. (See recipes below).
- Make your own popcorn!! It saves money, gives you exactly the taste you want, is fun for the whole family and a whole lot healthier. Popcorn fills you up without extra calories!
- A veggie a day. Cauliflower, carrots dipped in salsa or hummus: Yumm! Make your own.
- Celery is great instead of chips with salsa, guacamole or hummus. Or try celery with a little low-fat cream cheese. A whole celery stalk has only 10 calories!!! Celery aids digestion, has vitamin A for eye health and a combination of minerals that helps sooth your nervous system.
- Get pop-able fruit like grapes or blueberries.
- Try apple slices with a dab of peanut butter...a kids' favorite.
- Nuts come in delicious varieties & can help lower cholesterol!
- Make your own chips with sweet potatoes or kale.
When spring really gets here, you'll be feeling terrific!!
Recipe: Make Your Own
Ingredients: Blend together
- 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
- 2-4 Tablespoons of water
2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
- Put in a food processor or mash with a fork until smooth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup of unpopped popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon butter
Seasoning for taste (see tips)
- Put oil and popcorn kernels in a large pot with a tight fitting lid. Turn on the heat to medium.
- With oven mitts, shake the pot gently so kernels are evenly spread. As soon as the popping starts turn the heat to medium low and shake again
- When the popping slows to every 5 to 10 seconds, turn off the heat. Wait till the popping stops completely before opening the lid
- Mix with a little melted butter and topping in a bowl.
- Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing: Mix together ½ shallot, finely diced, 1 garlic clove, minced, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil.
Tips: Spicing Up Snacks
Hummus Plus: Make it different every time by adding your favorite herb or spice. Experiment. Do a little "test" with a small amount of hummus and a bit of spice.
Some suggestions to try:
- 2-4 tablespoon of Greek Yogurt for extra smoothness
- Chopped olives
- Whatever you like!
* 2 Tablespoons of seasoning is usually enough. Add 1 tablespoon at a time and taste:
- Minced scallions & cilantro
- Parmesan cheese and black pepper
- Chili powder and lime
- What ever you like!
* Storing popcorn for freshness: It's easy. Just keep out moisture. Use dry herbs and seasonings for flavoring. Store in a dry, tight sealing container. Take out only as much as you want each time you snack and reseal. It will last for several days.
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