Looking for something different to give you a quick lift the next time
you take five? Snacking is what break time is made for, but you don’t
have to settle for donuts and coffee. It’s easy to make quick snack
packs the night before. These fresh and simple between-meal bites are
travel-friendly, and can be enjoyed by back-to-schoolers and office folks alike.
Stuff them in a backpack or load up your lunch tote; these fresh DIY snacks
taste good and are better for your body than anything out of a vending machine.
Grape and nut packs. Grapes and nuts share a pleasing crunch, and the sweetness of the grapes
complements the meaty tang of the nuts. One cup of seedless green or red
grapes will only cost you about 100 calories. Grapes are known for their
antioxidants; the red ones contain more than the green. The antioxidant
resveratrol in red grape skins and red wine has long been thought to reduce
blood pressure. Nuts are full of healthy fats that lower the level of
bad cholesterol in your blood. They’re also one of the best plant
sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Pick unsalted nuts if you
have high blood pressure because just a couple of handfuls of salted nuts
can exceed your recommended sodium intake.
Cucumber sliders. Cucumber sandwiches have long been a tradition at tea time. Layer thin
slices of cucumber between multi-grain mini-buns with a little butter
or a drop of Italian dressing. Cucumbers are made almost entirely of water
to help keep you hydrated, and their fiber helps keep you full and aids
in digestion. They’re a good source of B vitamins, giving you an
energy boost without the letdown of sodas or coffee. If you don’t
mind leaving the skin on, you’ll get some vitamin C. The low-calorie
count and high fiber content makes cucumbers the perfect nosh for dieters.
And for fun, you can cut the sandwiches into triangles just like they
do at the fancy tea rooms.
Sweet potato chips. Sweet potatoes are too often avoided by people watching their carbs. One
medium sweet potato has 37 grams of carbs, and they are slightly higher
in sugar than their brown-skinned cousins. But sweet potatoes are just
too good for you in too many other ways to reject them out of hand. Sweet
potatoes are naturally fat-free. And one medium sweet potato provides
6 grams of fiber and more than 400 percent of your daily value of vitamin
A. They are also rich in beta-carotene, an important antioxidant linked
to protection against heart disease and the degenerative effects of aging.
Leave the skin on to make sure you keep all the fiber, then slice thinly
and bake until crisp, brushing lightly with vegetable oil if you’d
like. Pack a baggie of your homemade sweet potato chips with a container
of black bean salsa for even more fiber.
Greek yogurt combos. The difference between Greek yogurt and American-style yogurts is that
Greek yogurt has been strained to remove the liquid whey. The resulting
product contains up to twice as much protein as regular yogurt while also
being 40 percent lower in sugar and 38 percent lower in salt. The result
is a powerhouse of protein for energy and probiotics for preserving the
good bacteria in your gut. Mix plain, fat-free Greek yogurt with traditional
fruit toppings like blueberries or strawberries for added vitamins and
natural sweetness. For a special treat with heart-protecting flavonoids,
stir in a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips containing at least 70 percent
Have any other health-conscious break time snack recipes? Share them in
the comments section below.