Sumptuous Summer Snacks
Bonnie Taub-Dix, M.A., R.D., C.D.N
This month's guest writer is Bonnie Taub-Dix, a nutrition author who has worked with Campbell to help educate our consumers about healthy eating. Here's what she's dishing about:
Summertime is usually synonymous with outdoor activities and family fun. Whether you're an adult or a child, you'll need lots of energy too and nothing works better than a between-meal treat. It's important to choose snacks carefully because some may actually zap your energy instead of fueling you with what you need.
Some of the following tried and true tips can be helpful year through, while others may feel like an oasis in a desert, providing refreshment when the mercury rises:
- Slip into a smoothie. They are easy to prepare and they provide energy that can last for hours. Be creative and vary the ingredients so that you can enjoy a different type each day. In a blender, start with a base of 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla), and 3-4 ice cubes and then take it away! Add one or several of the following fruits and veggies: banana, berries, mango, pear, apple, cucumber, carrots, spinach, cooked sweet potato. (You may even get the kids to eat veggies they often turn their nose up to when you blend them with one of their favorite fruits.) In a hurry? Try a refreshing shelf-stable smoothie that contains no added sugar, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
- Create a kabob. When you make this for guests at your backyard BBQ or you're having some fun with food with your kids, these kabobs are easy to make and beautiful to serve. Cut up equal sized pieces of fruit such as watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and peaches, and stick them on a wooden skewer in alternating fashion. The same type of kabob can be made with veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and summer squash. Just brush them with a mixture of a hint of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, place them on a hot grill, and you'll have a side dish that serves lots of flavor with little calories.
- Go for a dip. After the pool, a refreshing treat might be dipping into some yogurt. For a sweet treat, dunk the fruit kabob above into vanilla or your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt. If something savory is on your menu, start with plain yogurt and mix it with an array of spices and seasonings or a tablespoon of onion soup mix and dip the veggie kabob mentioned.
- Get hungry for hummus. Aside from being rich in protein, fiber, and a wealth of B vitamins, hummus is a great way to get your family to eat more vegetables. A tray with hummus front and center surrounded by a colorful assortment of sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, jicama, zucchini sticks, and broccoli, grape tomatoes, and baby carrots will be pleasing to the eye and palate.
- Do something juicy. Make popsicles with 100% vegetable or fruit juice or vegetable and fruit juice blends or pour them into ice cube trays and serve with a pitcher of water for a wonderful way to hydrate while enjoying the vitamins and minerals most of us don't get enough of.
- Stay hydrated with soup. During the warm summer weather, it's important to keep your body hydrated and eating soup, especially broth-based soups, can help. Believe it or not, all soup is not eaten hot. In fact, there are a number of chilled soups that are delicious and refreshing like this Chilled Pear Tomato Gazpacho. But don't shy away from hot soups during the summer, they can still please your palate and help hydrate.
- Out of sight out of mind. Have fresh cut fruits or veggies on the kitchen table for when your kids come home from long day of activities so that their hands don't end up in the snack drawer while waiting for dinner. You'd be surprised at how this attractive refreshing medley can trump less healthy snacks.
- Become friends with the sandwich bag. Snacks have the reputation of being high in calories but that doesn't have to be true if portions are kept in check. Be mindful of serving sizes listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel of the food label and pre-portion snacks ahead of time. When possible, try buying items that come in single serving packages.
Hope these summer snack tips will help you look and feel full and fit both inside and out!
Have a Sumptuous Summer!
Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA,RD,CDN, owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC and the author of, Read It Before You Eat It, is a past spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and is an advisor to national and global corporate clients and food companies, setting up wellness programs, creating media campaigns, and conducting seminars. Bonnie is a regular guest on national TV and radio shows and in the press, including CNN, CBS Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, WebMD, as well as popular magazines. She is a consultant to the Cartoon Network and wrote a regular weekly blog for USA Today. As a renowned motivational speaker and award-winning dietitian, Bonnie has found a way to communicate how to make sense of science.