BY Alyse

Top 10 for 2010

Many of us are trying to start off 2010 with some health related New Year’s resolutions. One of the best ways to stay on a healthy eating plan is to enjoy what you are eating and to never let yourself get too hungry! As a way to help you do just that, I am sharing my top 10 favorite healthy snacks. Snacks are vital to a healthy diet; they help keep blood sugars stable, prevent you from getting too hungry at your meals (and then over-eating), and they are a great way to get in lots of needed nutrients. Here are my favorite snacks that you can ring in 2010 with (in no particular order):

Nuts: pistachios, almonds, walnuts…you name it! Check out the bite titled “Ready, Set, Go Nuts” to learn all about the health benefits that nuts offer.

Bars: high fiber bars are a very satisfying (and if you choose wisely, delicious) snack option that are portable and great to have on hand for emergency snack situations. Bars should contain natural ingredients like fruits and nuts (check the ingredient list and avoid bars with added sugar). Some of my favorite brands are Lara, PURE, KIND and Think Organic.

Greek Yogurt and Pomegranate Seeds: Greek yogurt is actually higher in protein than regular yogurt and has a delicious thick consistency. To counter the naturally sour taste, add some sweet, antioxidant rich pomegranate seeds. The sweet taste and crunchy texture are the perfect complements to the yogurt.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds on Whole Grain Bread: Enjoy the creamy taste of peanut butter with the added crunch of flaxseeds, giving you a boost of omega 3′s. Nothing beats peanut butter on toast if you ask me! If you can’t get the Trader Joe’s product, there are other natural nut butters on the market that are equally delicious. If you are extra hungry, add some banana for a very filling and wholesome treat.

Low-fat Chocolate Milk: Often thought of as just a kid’s indulgence, chocolate milk is a great snack that can be enjoyed by all. Low-fat chocolate milk is a great source of protein, calcium and many vitamins and minerals. It is an especially great post-workout snack for athletes because it can quickly be absorbed by the body and replenish fuel stores. It is a great on-the-go snack because it is sold in some individual cartons that don’t have to be refrigerated (i.e., Horizon Organic); and, of course, it tastes great!

Zen Bakery Muffins: high fiber muffins with so few ingredients and preservatives that they go bad quickly if you don’t eat them up! Sold at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, these are delicious muffins that are actually healthy for you. Try any of the bran muffin varieties. Hard to find substitutes here, so if you don’t find this brand, don’t buy just any bran muffin-they tend to be loaded with  ingredients

Popcorn: Popcorn is a naturally high fiber food because it is actually a whole grain!  Plain popcorn is a great snack option. For an added twist, kettle corn has both sweet and salty flavors, which will get all of your taste buds kicking (Trader Joe’s makes a great single serving bag of lite kettle corn popcorn).

Ak Mak Crackers and Cheese Wedges: Ak Mak crackers are 100% WHOLE GRAIN crackers…not just “made with whole grains”, but 100% whole grain. This is rare to find in a great tasting cracker! Add some delicious, cheese (for protein and fat) to them and you have a great snack to keep you going.

Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce: This snack can be a great pre-dinner snack to tide you over to the main meal without having a big impact on your calorie intake. Shrimp is a high protein food. For a perfect complementary dip, add some cocktail sauce. The main ingredients in cocktail sauce are ketchup and horseradish and should have less than 10 ingredients.- Even better, if you have the time, make your own cocktail sauce-take a good dollop of ketchup and add a teaspoonful of horseradish from the jar; add an equal pinch of salt, pepper, sugar and a splash of lemon; mix it up and add more horseradish (or ketchup!) to your liking-tastes so much better than pre-made. Homemade condiments tend to be lower in sodium content because they do not have to be shelf stable. Also, it’s an easy way to show you appreciate your friends and family.