Category Archives: Snacks

Skinny Baked Chips & Salsa

Skinny Chips & Salsa

I get chips and salsa cravings all the time, and it’s easy to go overboard real fast at the Mexican restaurant. So, here is my healthier version of chips and salsa that’s sure to fill you up with ingredients that are actually really good for you. The chips are high fiber wheat tortillas baked with sea salt in a small conventional oven. And, I’ve added fat-free cottage cheese to the mix so that I feel like I’m actually eating a snack with significant substance. Packed with protein and fiber, this snack will leave you feeling fuller longer.

Estimated Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

Cut up the tortilla into bite-size pieces and place on a piece of tinfoil. Spray the tortilla pieces with a dash of cooking spray and sprinkle sea salt on top. Pop in the conventional oven and set to “Toast” for about 10 minutes or until the chips are crispy (time may vary based on oven). In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese and salsa. Use the oven-baked tortilla strips as chips and enjoy the dip!

Though, if you don’t have time to make your own chips, no worries! Opt for some low-fat tortilla chips from the store. And to be frank, I eat the cheese and salsa alone all the time as well 🙂

Weight Watchers Points: 4 points plus

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Why Cherries Are Awesome

Cherry
Aside from the fact that Chinatown is currently selling cherries for $0.69 a pound (compared to Safeway at $4.99 a pound (just saying’…))- cherries are an obsession of mine. These cute little nuggets of joy are not only tasty, but they also have so many health benefits as well. Cherries contain high levels of vitamins A, C and E, as well as elements of iron, magnesium and potassium.

Here’s Why Cherries Are Freaking Awesome:

  • Good For Digestion: When we eat cherries, there is more production and secretion of digestive juices, which subsequently improves our digestive system.
  • Cancer Protection: Researchers have found sweet cherries to be cancer fighters thanks to their high level of an antioxidant called cyanidin.
  • Blood Pressure Reducer: Sweet cherries are loaded with potassium, a natural blood-pressure reducer.
  • Ease Sore Muscles: Cherries can help reduce post-exercise muscle and joint pains. They help in speedy muscle recovery.
  • Anti-Aging Melatonin found in cherries also slows down the aging process.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: Scientists have proven relationship between arthritis, gout and cherries. It has been observed that patients, who consumed large quantities of cherries regularly, reported reduction in pain of arthritis and gout.
  • Memory Booster: Anthocyanin is also good for the brain and has been shown to improve memory.
  • Healthy Heart Promoter: A study at the University of Michigan found that a diet that includes a lot of cherries lowers all the overall risk factors for heart disease, including inflammation, body fat, and cholesterol.
  • Natural Sleep Aid: Tart cherries are one of nature’s few sources of melatonin, a hormone that lowers body temperature, making us sleepy.

References:
Healthdiaries.com
BeWellBuzz.com

Easy Air-Popped Popcorn

Easy Air-Popped Popcorn

Make your own popcorn in a paper bag! All you need is a plain paper bag (no metal attached), some popcorn seeds and a microwave. This is a healthier alternative to pre-packaged popcorn, as this version is practically oil-free!

Estimated Time: 4 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/4 cup dry popcorn
  • 1 paper bag

Pour the seeds inside the bag, and fold the bag over a couple of times to ensure it stays closed. Press the “Popcorn” button on your microwave and stand by in case it finishes early. Once it’s all done, give the popcorn a quick mist of cooking spray and season with your favorite ingredients (I like it with sea salt). If you can’t find a sandwich paper bag, any paper grocery bag will do, as long as there’s no metal foils or metal staples.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3 points per serving

 

Orange Pickin’

Orange Health Benefits

Ever get the chance to pick fresh oranges straight from the tree? I had the opportunity this weekend, and it was so fun! Not to mention, tasty!

I’m more of an “apple a day” kind of gal, but I definitely have my citrus orange moments. In particular, I love taking oranges or tangerines on my hikes, as nothing’s more gratifying than a sweet juicy orange after an arduous climb up a mountain. It almost quenches my thirst and for that, I will forever heart the orange.

On top of that, oranges offer plenty of health benefits as well. Like, did you know that they:

  • Prevent cancer:
    A compound found in oranges and other citrus fruits, called D-limonene has been found to be effective in the prevention of some cancers such as, skin cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, mouth cancer and colon cancer.
  • Lower cholesterol:
    One of the most important flavonoids in oranges is hesperidin. Hesperidin and the pectin in oranges have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Lower high blood pressure:
    Studies have shown that a flavonoid called hesperidin and magnesium in oranges can lower high blood pressure.
  • Have cardiovascular benefits:
    Oranges contains dietary fiber, folate, and herperidin, which are directly promotes the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. Eating an orange a day helps to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
  • Treat arthritis:
    Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, oranges help in relieving arthritis pain and stiffness of muscles and joints.
  • Promote proper brain development:
    Oranges are a good source of folate or folic acid which helps in the proper development of brain.
  • Keep sperm healthy:
    Orange contains folate, an essential nutrient for healthy sperm and protects sperm from genetic damage that may cause a birth defect.
  • Strengthen immune system:
    The strong content of vitamin C in orange stimulates the production of white cells in our body, thus improving the immune system.
  • Prevent kidney stones:
    Regular consumption of orange juice can significantly reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Promote weight loss:
    Oranges are extremely low in calories. A medium orange contains just 65 calories, making it a good addition to a healthy diet for weight loss. They also have a high fiber content, which can make you feel full longer, so you eat less.
  • Maintain a healthy skin:
    The antioxidants in orange help protect the skin from free radical damage known to cause signs of aging.
  • Protect against infections:
    Due to the abundance of flavonoid polyphenols, oranges may help protect against viral infections.
  • Maintain bone and teeth health
    Oranges are also rich in calcium, which helps protect and maintain bone as well teeth health.<\li>
  • Prevent ulcers:
    Due to its high fiber content, oranges also can help protect against ulcers. Studies suggest that eating an orange a day may help prevent the formation of stomach ulcer.

There you have it my friends! Get pickin’!

Reference: http://www.healthonlinezine.info

Delicious Italian Appetizers

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Halfway through our trip, we found ourselves on the hunt for some fiber. We were on our way back to Rome to pick up my brother from the airport when my dad decided to pull off the highway into this random town we couldn’t find in the tourist handbooks. We discovered this very local (no english) restaurant that looked a bit questionable off the side of a major road. We had no idea what to expect.

Turns out this place is where all the locals eat, because we were definitely surrounded by lots of Italian businessmen and families. We felt vegetable-deprived, and we were so happy we found some appetizers with some fresh vegetables!

Pictured above:

  • Caprese Salad: I’ve never seen the milk ooze out of fresh mozzarella the way this cheese did. The tomatoes were so fresh and there was also a smoked mozzarella that was to die for.
  • Grilled Zucchini: I liked this one best. It was so simple, just grilled zucchini with olive oil and caramelized balsamic.
  • Eggplant Ragu: Eggplant sautéed in olive oil with tomatoes and onions.
  • Squid and Arugula Salad: This was super light and fresh. The contrast of the sweet crunchy squid and sharp distinctive arugula flavor was super nomz.

With bites of these as my meal for lunch, I didn’t feel guilty stealing a few big bites of my mom’s fettuccine alfredo (which I forgot to take a picture of, but was by the way, hands down, the best, most unhealthy delicious pasta I’ve ever had in my life).

Guest Recipe: Stephen’s Green Smoothie

Easy Green Smoothie

Okay, so don’t judge me – I already drank half of this bad boy before finally taking a picture! Goes to show how delicious Stephen’s smoothie was, right?! Easy, simple and full of vitamins. If you’re just finishing up a workout- you can easily add protein powder to the mix as well. Blend the following ingredients together and you’re good to go!

Estimated Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Banana – 1 small
  • Chopped Apple – 1 small
  • Spinach – 1 cup, lightly packed
  • Kale – 1/2 cup, lightly packed
  • Water – 1/4 cup

 

Do the KIND Thing

KIND Bars - Dark Chococate Nuts & Sea Salt

Kind Bars - Minis

These are my favorite, favorite, FAVORITE treats! They literally taste like candy to me and I’m a huge proponent of the KIND brand. Their products have all sorts of benefits, such as zero sugar alcohols, gluten-free, low sodium and a stomach-friendly blend of protein, healthy fats, carbs and fiber. My favorite flavor so far is the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, as it has the perfect combination of sweet and salty. I also recently discovered these KIND Mini Bars, which are smaller portioned 100-calorie ranged bites of goodness. They come in a variety pack of 12 (I hope they’ll soon include the Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt flavor!) and they’re perfect when you’re on-the-go and need something small to recharge. I order my boxes off Amazon, since they cost less when you buy ’em in bulk.

  • KIND Mini Bars Variety Pack: 12 for $13 at Amazon
  • KIND Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt: 12 for $17.50 at Amazon

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6 points for each Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bar, 3-4 points for each Mini

 

Heirloom Tomato w/ Truffle Salt & Balsamic

Balsamic Heirloom Tomato SnackThese beauties were a gift from a very talented gardener, Rachel Saalsaa! Visiting from Sacramento, Rachel grew, picked and drove a bag full of tomatoes to my house in San Francisco…how sweet is she?! I was thrilled because she brought three different varieties. Pictured above is a mid-day snack consisting of heirloom tomatoes, truffle salt and a sweet balsamic drizzle. The heirloom tomato was OMG to die for, so fresh and delicious.  This recipe is super simple and really spotlights the tomato.

Estimated Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • Heirloom Tomato: 1 large
  • Balsamic Vinegar: 1-2 tbsp
  • Truffle Salt: 1 tsp
  • Garlic Powder: 1 dash
  • Dry Italian Herbs: 1 tsp

Cut the tomato into slices and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Top it off with the truffle salt, garlic powder and dry italian herbs. You can cut it up and eat it plain, try it over a piece of toasted bread or even serve it over a bed of lettuce.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 0 points