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Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

It’s 3:00 PM and the salty snack cravings hit you like a ton of bricks.  What to do, what to eat, how to make it healthy?  Most often when the snack cravings hit, we want to grab something unhealthy like chips, crackers, or pretzels.  Processed carbohydrates are loaded with empty calories, cause massive blood sugar swings and leave you feeling more tired than you were to begin with.  Below I will highlight some healthy food swaps that will satisfy your salty cravings without derailing your healthy habits.

Grab the protein

Protein is, in my opinion, the most important macronutrients and should be incorporated into every meal and snack.  Beef jerky is a powerhouse snack with 1 ounce containing about 12 grams of protein for only 80 calories!  Another great snack that packs the salty crunch are dry roasted nuts.  Almonds are one of my favorites with 1 ounce containing 14 grams of heart healthy fats, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of dietary fiber.  Soy nuts are another healthy vegetarian option with 1 ounce packing 12 grams of protein for only 130 calories.  My favorite part about these healthy snacks are they don’t have to be refrigerated, can be stored easily for on the go snacking and each has tons of flavor without a lot of calories.

Prep Ahead

I guarantee that if you ask any personal trainer, athlete, or extremely healthy person what their key to success is, it would have to be food prep.  It is so important to set yourself up for success with a fridge and pantry full of healthy grab and go items.  I spend at least 2 hours every Sunday getting my lunches and dinners prepped for the week.  I always have a few snack bags ready at my desk, in my purse and easily accessible at home to aid my healthy willpower.

Kale chips are all the rage right now, and they couldn’t be simpler to make.  You may still miss the potato chip, but at least you won’t have the guilt that goes with it!  I love roasted chickpeas as well especially when I’m getting burnt out on nuts.  You can flavor these little guys with anything under the sun and I especially like making them spicy.  Try out the recipes below. I suggest make double, triple, or quadruple the recipe because you are going to LOVE IT!

Roasted Chickpeas

Servings: 6

Ingredients:
2 15-oz can garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Spices of your choice (garlic salt, creole, all purpose seasoning)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a strainer. Shake off excess water and pat dry with paper towels.  Try to remove all the excess water if possible.   Drizzle the olive oil over the beans and toss to coat. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the beans are a deep golden brown and crunchy.  Season with salt and spice blend.

Source: http://steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html

Calories: 157  Fat: 3g  Protein: 6g  Carbs: 27g

Crispy Kale Chips

Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Spices of your choice (garlic powder, chili powder, all purpose seasoning)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and spices. Bake until crispy, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/crispy-kale-chips-recipe.html

Calories: 93   Fat:  7g  Protein: 2g  Carbs: 7g

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